Parents upset over coach’s hiring process

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Unionville Baseball Boosters say they were ‘shut out’ until after the fact

By Mike McGann, Editor,
PENNSBURY — Members of the Unionville High School Baseball Booster Club say they feel like the school district failed to get them in the lineup when selection process for a new varsity baseball coach was underway.

Monday night, they unsuccessfully asked the Board of Education to table the hiring of Michael Magee to replace T. J. Ostrishko, who resigned earlier this year. The voted 6-1 to hire Magee.

While none of the parents were directly critical of Magee, who has served as pitching coach at Downingtown East High School and previously coached at Bishop Shanahan High School, they expressed disappointment in the process which, they say, prevented fair consideration of another candidate, Mike Robinson, the President of the KAU Little League, someone who has coached many of the players in the Unionville program in summer league baseball.

Jeff Fries, incoming president of the Baseball Boosters, said that Unionville High School Athletic Director Joe Derrickson made little or no effort to contact the boosters — a parent organization that pays for some of the costs of the baseball program — to get input. Two baseball parents, a player, as well as a varsity coach from another sport, and Derrickson were among the members of the selection committee, which recommended Magee over Robinson.

Mike Magee, the new Unionville High School baseball coach.

Unionville High School principal Paula Massanari confirmed that administration procedures call for consulting with the booster club when possible, but after a change in the officers of the organization, there was some confusion about who to contact. However, she said, in the future, the “when possible” clause should be changed to required.

Derrickson did not respond to a request for comment.

Fries said that the concern is that its unclear whether the parents selected represented the views of the majority of the baseball parents — and questioned whether key concerns, such as who Magee will use as assistant coaches, and what his relationship is with area college baseball coaches, as many parents, like Fries, are looking for athletic scholarship options for their sons were part of the interview process. Those questions, parents said Monday night, were not answered during the interview process — at least not to their satisfaction. How the parents were selected was also questioned. Many parents questioned whether the emphasis was on winning now, or building a program for the long haul.

“Will the coach be able to start and build a program from the seventh grade team all the way to the varsity?” Fries asked.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Sanville said that he felt the guidelines were properly followed and allowed that some of the frustration is coming from disagreement about the final choice.

“Who we decide is a successful candidate is up to personal interpretation,” Sanville said.

Among the board members, only Holly Manzone asked for Magee’s hiring to be tabled, noting that while she “doesn’t think the board should micromanage the process, it shouldn’t be a rubber stamp, either.”

Although fellow member Eileen Bushelow initially offered some support — it became evident that the rest of the board was prepared to move ahead with the hiring of Magee, based on the recommendations of the administration.

“I think we have to rely on the administration,” board vice president Frank Murphy said, noting that the policy has been in place for five years and used to select many of the current coaches for the school.



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