We’re all for creativity in sports. It’s one of the things that makes amateur sports and minor league baseball interesting! And yet, sometimes people who think they’re being creative are instead, being crude and insulting. (And we know about crude and insulting.) Take for example of Kevin Quill, the high school swim coach coaching at Seymour High School (CT) since January 2002. He’s gotten creative with the T-shirts that members of his teams wear to promote commoradore and togetherness. Like the shirt worn by members of the girls team that read, “The Wetter, The Better.” According to several former swimmers, administrators at the school made the girls turn their shirts inside out to hide the message, before they let them wear it. Okay, but that’s only one example, right?
Well, there was that other shirt that was printed with, “Smashing the Competition, One Tree … One Team at a Time.” Seems harmless until you find out that it refers to a swim team member who had crashed his car into a tree and suffered a severe head injury, putting him briefly in a coma. Hilarious!
Still, the guy shouldn’t be judged by two shirts in seven years, right? That might have been the case until this year’s shirt came out: “The Mascot is a quitter,” which, apparently, referred to a swimmer who quit the team after he was not made captain. In a letter to the school, Quill claimed he was “not poking fun at the student (Mascot), but instead were poking fun at the situation.” Yeah, we don’t quite see that, but given the history, it might be best if he move on, especially because it seems that there’s more than just T-shirts at the center of this. Here’s more from the New Haven Register:
Quill’s personnel file includes five letters of reprimand, from former high school assistant principal and athletic director Raymond Necio, current Athletic Director Ed Rostowsky and former Superintendent of Schools Thomas Petruny. The letters were sent between Sept. 13, 2005, and Nov. 8, 2006.
A few of the letters warn that continued failure to comply with directives “can result in disciplinary action being taken, including dismissal from your coaching position.”
Some of the reprimands reflect Quill’s alleged failure to comply with administrative directives, such as issuing a typed copy of team rules to the swimmers and the athletic director, and providing area newspapers with the results of a home swim meet.
In November 2006, Petruny wrote to Quill after a swimmer’s parent played for him an angry voicemail message Quill had left the swimmer.
“I have heard the message you left on one of your students’ answering machine. That message was directly contrary to the role and responsibilities of the coaching job you accepted. There may be many reasons why you felt the need to express yourself in that manner. However, the choice on your part to do so was highly inappropriate,” Petruny wrote.
But prior to his termination, Quill was never subjected to any other disciplinary actions, according to schools attorney Frederick Dorsey of Hartford.
This was much to the chagrin of several students Quill coached and their parents.
“As a team, we experienced a lot more crying then we did smiling and laughing at given practices,” said one former swimmer, who asked to remain anonymous because she has a family member working in the school system.
Several girls interviewed said Quill would regularly throw kickboards and pool buoys — and, once, a shoe — at swimmers when he was displeased.
“He was very aggressive as a guy and he tended to lash out a lot,” said Jenelle Hillman, a swimmer who graduated in 2005. “You could definitely tell he didn’t know how to deal with girls because he was just very impatient with us.”