Storm clouds gathering around Nevins
Coach’s comments raise ire; District 6 awaits discipline
Reggie Nevins’ future as the Central High School boys basketball coach may gain some clarity tonight.
The Spring Cove School Board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. and, though it doesn’t name him specifically, as of Sunday, the agenda included a motion to terminate an employee, believed to be Nevins, who received a letter last week outlining the board’s intention.
The agenda lists Brian Gahagan, the board president, along with Amy Acker-Knisely and John Biddle as recommending the termination.
A bigger-than-usual crowd is expected in the board room at the administrative offices.
Reached Sunday, Nevins said he has until noon today to decide his options, which include seeking a hearing, which could delay a board action.
He declined further comment.
Athletic Director Stacy Kuster did not return a call for comment Sunday.
The board’s concerns stem from critical comments Nevins made following the Dragons’ 40-27 loss on Saturday, Feb. 23, to Huntingdon, which eliminated Central from the District 6 and PIAA playoffs.
An ice storm delayed Central’s game with Tyrone, previously scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 20 to Thursday, Feb. 21, and bumped the District 6 Class 4A final from Friday, Feb. 22 to Saturday.
That didn’t sit well with Nevins, who thought the championship game should have been delayed until the following week before inter-district playoffs began on March 8.
He was also disappointed that only one 6-4A team advanced to the state tourney.
“Huntingdon is better than us,” Nevins told the Mirror’s Michael Boytim. “We lost three times to them. They might be one of the top three teams in the state, but who knows? Maybe we’re one of the top six or eight. We don’t get a chance to continue thanks to our representatives who decide all this. We appreciate the fact we got about a day and a half to prepare for this game.
“We had a barnburner against Tyrone on Thursday. You get done about 9 o’clock at night, get one practice to get ready for a game, and you have no chance to get ready. I think that’s a very poor job by our district committee. I don’t know if anyone else, boys or girls, was put in that predicament. It’s bad enough that we only get one team to go to states, but then to come back here a day and a half after you already played, I think is just ridiculous. I know they say they care about the kids, but obviously they couldn’t care less about the kids. We got a whole week next week, and we could have played any day at any venue. We would have gone to Huntingdon, it didn’t matter to us.”
The District 6 committee took offense to the comments, particularly the accusation of not caring about the players.
“We were extremely upset,” Bill Marshall, District 6 chairman, said Sunday, adding the comments “were obviously a personal attack on the committee that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Marshall said when coaches offer public criticism — usually it’s about officiating — “we let the schools address it (internally). If we’re satisfied, there’s no need to bring it before the committee.”
Central has until April 4, the next District 6 meeting, to provide a response on how the comments were addressed and any action taken with Nevins.
Marshall said the committee typically deals with “15-20 issues with coaches, and almost every school has satisfied us,” resulting in no need, he said, for further discipline or to speak with the coach or school.
Marshall said nothing else happened during the game to merit District 6’s concern.
“If there’s no comments in the paper, there would have been no communication with Spring Cove,” he said.
Nevins, 65, is the winningest boys basketball coach in Blair County history, having amassed a record of 452-243 through 27 seasons — all at Central.