Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Keep Coach Riley at SMHS

If you would like to sign the petition to keep Coach Ed Riley at San Mateo HS, go to this LINK.

Speaking from experience, I can say that Ed Riley is one of the finest human beings you will ever run into the coaching world. I started the track and field team at Crystal Springs in 2002 and for many years, Ed shared the San Mateo track with my team until the district stepped in and said we couldn't practice with his team anymore. It definitely was not his decision. This also touches close to home as I too lost my coaching job at San Mateo HS due to a teacher wanting to coach the cross country team. She only lasted a few seasons and I have been at Crystal Springs for 20 years now. Hopefully the powers that be can be swayed in allowing Ed to coach the track and field team in the spring. He is a good man and doesn't deserve to lose his coaching position.


Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that Coach Riley is a good man, but out of curiosity I looked at the PAL league results (finals and meet #2) and San Mateo HS had a total of 9 runners for both boys and girls for all levels. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, I hate to say it but the stated reason behind his dismissal ("inability to garner enough athletes for cross country") appears to have some truth to it. Anyone know if there's an explanation for the tiny squad? If not, it's seems like a fair move by the administration even if it's unfortunate given all his years there.

Anonymous said...

There is truth to the district's position. I looked into the history, and it's pretty damning: The last time SM finished both a boys and girls varsity team at PAL Championships was 2007. They've finished a boys team in 2009, 2010, and 2011. They've finished a girls team only once, in 2013. This isn't a "competitive finish," mind you, these are the years they got a (varsity) team score at all.

Coach Riley is a good man, and has a great ability to lead talented athletes to achieve great success (e.g. Michael Beery, Kendall Spencer). But if a girls basketball coach didn't put a team on the floor for 7 out of 8 years, no one would be writing petitions for them.

Albert Caruana said...

2 questions. Has the concern of low numbers in cross country been relayed to Ed before being terminated? What does cross country numbers have to do with being a Track and Field coach?

Hank said...

I tried going to the Bearcat Invite home page and it's down (404), anyone know if it'll come back or is the page (and event) over?


Albert Caruana said...

I visited the site two days ago and it was still up but things have obviously changed now. I am not sure the meet will take place this year if Ed is not back.

Anonymous said...

Albert - to the first question, we'll never know. You can make an argument that such concerns should have been relayed ahead of time, and we'll never know if they were or not. But you can also make an argument that they shouldn't have to be: it's a team sport, and the school didn't put together a team. For four consecutive years.

To the second question, there's a strong argument to keep Ed for Track & Field. It starts with the fact that he runs an incredibly successful invitational which keeps the team self-sufficient and notable in the Bay Area. It continues with the idea that track is an individual sport, and Ed has demonstrated an ability to connect with and develop talented individuals. But we'll never know how the district perceives the issue: maybe they think they're being expedient. Maybe they can't separate the two in their decision making. Maybe they're evil discriminatory haters just out for blood. Maybe there's legal concerns we don't even know about. Maybe they're getting pressure from other sources (e.g. the league commissioner/board of managers - four years is a long time to not field a varsity team).

The point is, it's way more complicated than the petition makes it seem.

Anonymous said...

So are they dropping the XC program? What would a coach have to do with kids going out for a sport? Perhaps the AD and principal should be fired for a lack of community.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting situation indeed. I don't know anything about the school or the parties involved so I'm purely speculating here.

Lack of success is one thing. It can be difficult to get kids to put in the work required for success in XC. If he had a large "average" team we probably wouldn't be having this discussion.

To me the lack of participation is very telling. If the 9 athletes number is true, there is something else going on.

I'm quoting the Doug Soles interview here.

14) What is your best advice for a new coach in either sport and how to build a
successful program from scratch?

"The first is you have to have is a plan for the culture you want to build in your program. ...Success for the coach starts with putting the time in and building a culture of success with the kids.

The second critical piece is recruiting your incoming 9th graders! Once the calendar rolls over and a new crop of athletes is joining your school, you have to go out and get them. ...."

Maybe Bellarmine recruited them all. Just Kidding, Albert, Don't delete me.

So it comes down to culture and marketing your program.

Successful track & field programs has little to do with XC participation and success.

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