"Next season begins tomorrow."
That's what boys' lacrosse coach Bob Aronson said following the . For Aronson, however, it appears "next season" is over before it begins.
Aronson, the only coach in the varsity program's 11-year history, was informed by the school administration this past December that his contract would not be renewed for a 13th season. Reasons for the decision remain unclear because school policy and state law prevent Medfield educators from discussing personnel matters, according to superintendent Bob Maguire.
Medfield High School principal Robert Parga and athletic director Jon Kirby each declined to comment on the issue, deferring to Maguire, who said legally, he cannot provide specifics to the decision.
"Personnel matters are governed under a whole series of laws and there are a whole series of protections as well as rights and responsibilities that fall under the law of personnel matters," Maguire said. "Clearly the intent of the legislature was to make these decisions the purview of the principal of the school."
While the reason behind Aronson's departure is unclear, Medfield resident Robert Treiber, who has attended both the Jan. 30 and Feb. 13 school committee meetings to address this issue, has put together a 41-page packet of information he believes to be the facts behind the administration's decision not to bring Aronson back for the 2012 season.
Included in the packet, which was submitted to members of the school committee at its Jan. 30 meeting, is an alleged violation of the MIAA Rule 40 – regulating contact between coaches and players out-of-season, e-mails to Medfield lacrosse families from Parga on the MIAA allegations, e-mails between Aronson and the MIAA, e-mails between Aronson and the lacrosse program and e-mails from former and current Medfield lacrosse players voicing support for their coach.
The Boston Herald reported Friday, March 2 in Bruce Lerch's piece, "_Bob Aronson Out as Medfield Coach_," that the MIAA issued no penalty to Aronson or the school for possibly violating MIAA Rule 40 after the school conducted an investigation on the matter.
Lerch writes: "According to sources close to the program, the MIAA referred the allegations to Medfield Public Schools, whose investigation resulted in no sanctions against the school or the student-athletes. Additionally, Aronson received no penalty from the MIAA, and is free to pursue a coaching position at another MIAA school."
To read Lerch's article in its entirety, _click here_.
Aronson was also suspended four games at the start of the 2011 season for allegedly having a verbal altercation with a Medfield resident at a high school basketball game last winter. Maguire and Kirby declined comment on the suspension and whether it had any influence on the administration's decision to not bring Aronson back.
Maguire also declined to confirm or dismiss Treiber's packet of information as accurate, making clear to Treiber at the Feb. 13 school committee meeting and Medfield Patch in a phone conversation that he legally cannot comment on the matter.
"I haven’t agreed to anything [Treiber presented as] factual," Maguire said.
Treiber told the school committee while the purpose of the packet is to make people aware of what he believes to be the facts of the situation, he is most concerned about how this decision will affect the kids in the lacrosse program.
"I’m concerned about the welfare for our children and our community," Treiber told the school committee at its Jan. 30 meeting. "I believe we reached a sub-optimal decision and that we can improve upon that."
Treiber also said he is unsatisfied with the inability of the school administration to publicly address the issue.
"[Maguire] talks about the dialogue that we can’t have," Treiber said at the Feb. 13 school committee meeting. "That’s how I came to be [at the meeting]. We had a nice conversation but eventually it comes down to 'Trieber it’s a personnel matter,' 'Trieber I can’t talk to you about that.'"
Despite not being able to provide any public comments regarding the situation, Maguire said he supports the decision made by Parga and his administration.
"I believe the people that were charged with making the decision have made a sound decision," Maguire said to a roomful of disappointed parents and players at the Feb. 13 School Committee meeting. "I’m sorry that some [community members] may not agree with that and I respect many of [them] that I have known for a long time. I really don’t know that we are going to have a different decision on the matter."
Following the Feb. 13 school committee meeting, members of the lacrosse community formed an organization in support of Aronson. Treiber is serving as the chairman of the group – the Organization to Reinstate Coach Aronson (ORCA) – and reportedly met with Maguire Thursday morning for more than two hours in hopes of reaching a compromise over Aronson’s contract renewal, according to a press release issued by ORCA.
The press release states Thursday’s meeting went nowhere in terms of Aronson being reconsidered for the position or reinstated as coach because Maguire maintained his position of not readdressing the decision already made.
As a result, ORCA members plan to protest Aronson’s departure during the March 5 School Committee meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the high school, according to the press release.
Replacing Aronson for the 2012 season will be his assistant coaches, Mike Douglas and John Isaf, who were appointed as co-head coaches for the upcoming season, according to Kirby.
"John and Mike are both stepping up,” Kirby said. “Mike [Douglas] and John [Isaf] have been in the program for a long time. Mike has been with the program every year of its existence and teaches at the Dale Street School. John has been an active coach with us as well.”
In making the coaching change, Kirby said it was a “big deal” to promote from within the program and maintain the consistency of the program.
“Because of the obvious success that the program has had, you want to keep the program going in the same direction,” Kirby said.
Aronson's Coaching Career at a Glance
- Aronson has been the varsity lacrosse team’s only head coach since its inception in 2000.
- In 1994, Aronson started teaching a handful of local kids how to hold a lacrosse stick then throw and catch, on Sunday mornings in Medfield, which led to the inception of the Medfield Youth Lacrosse program in town.
- In its 11-year history, the Medfield High School varsity boys’ lacrosse program has never missed the playoffs; advanced to the state tournament quarterfinals 11 times; the state tournament’s final four nine times; the state championship game six times and has won five state championships, including back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011.
- Aronson has a career record of 222-47 at Medfield High School and a 32-7 record in the state tournament.
- 13 high school All-American’s have been produced from the lacrosse program.