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N.H. basketball coach fired for swearing at one of his players

Jonathan Wall
Prep Rally

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Keene basketball — Sentinel Source

Keene (N.H.) High School hasn't had the best luck picking boys' basketball coaches recently. After going through four in the first six years, the school named Bill Johnston the fifth coach last season, despite, as NHsportspage.com reported, being advised by friends to steer clear of the opening.

"I must have had had 10 or 12 people, people I love and respect, try and talk me out of it," Johnston told NHsportspage.com. "I took the job though because I knew this was a long-term project, I had no illusions about that. ... Everyone told me the politics that surround this job wouldn't allow it, but I took it on anyway. It's my hometown."

After just one season at the helm, Johnston doesn't have to worry about turning the team around, after he was fired from the position for calling one of his players a "lazy piece of [expletive]" during a recent practice.

The coach reportedly said the comment was made in a joke manner, but according to the school's rules, a coach can be replaced "immediately and without discussion" if an anonymous complaint is filed against them. For that reason, he wasn't given a chance to explain himself. The firing seems even more unfortunate after Johnston received a glowing mid-season review from the school for the work he was doing.

"I would think some sort of warning and/or reprimand may have been in order and I would have been willing and anxious to apologize to the offended player and the entire team.  I would much rather have used this situation as a "Life Lesson", then corrected the situation and moved on with the balance of the season," said Johnston.

I understand the decision to let a coach go for a fireable offense, but Johnston was never even given a chance to explain himself, which I think is a mistake. The person who reportedly told the school about the incident wasn't the parent of the player in question. So for all we know, it was a disgruntled player trying to get back at the coach.

Who knows for sure, but the way this firing was handled seems extremely questionable, in my opinion.

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