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Firing of Paly water polo coach prompts team protest

Original post made on Oct 24, 2019

The sudden termination of Palo Alto High's varsity girls water polo coach has sparked questions and criticism from some players and their parents about the school district's handling of his firing.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 24, 2019, 9:10 AM

Comments (8)

10 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Oct 24, 2019 at 11:19 am

Jonathan Brown is a registered user.

It seems fair to say that there is room for improvement in both Palo Alto high schools in terms of how the athletic programs are staffed and administered. For our kids' sake, I hope the schools can do better.


16 people like this
Posted by Pied Piper
a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 24, 2019 at 11:31 am

Pied Piper is a registered user.

Sounds like the school adminstration and school board made a difficult yet thoughtful decision.


16 people like this
Posted by sunnypa
a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 24, 2019 at 11:34 am

sunnypa is a registered user.

It's about time we end all the drama in Palo Alto high school sports, with coaches, players and parents alike.

The high schools should only hire coaches that go through true background checks, Positive Coaching Alliance training, and follow the social emotional learnings that both Paly and Gunn try to implement. Coaches seem to be held to a different standard than teachers in the district and are often put in high pedestals by parents who are only searching for wins or advantages for their players. Parents can be nasty to each other on the sidelines, coaches berate players and have huge conflicts of interests with their club teams, and more often than not, make comments to players that would be considered completely inappropriate if the comments were made by teachers. The sports culture in Palo Alto needs to change for the sake of all those involved.

Btw, are you sure the pink caps was in protest and not due to Pinktober?


121 people like this
Posted by Staying Young Through Kids
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2019 at 1:10 pm

Staying Young Through Kids is a registered user.

There has to be more to this story.

I can't remember the last time a local HS coach was dismissed mid-season. It's not like coaches grow on trees around here. They get paid next to nothing. And, finding a decent coach for a minor sport like water polo has to be an even bigger challenge. Finding a coach with the backbone to bench a player for mouthing off? That's the kind of coach you reward, not fire!

It looks like the team has improved their SCVAL league record from last season, so what metric are they using to determine performance?

It seems clear the coach was dismissed due to a conflict with one or two players while the majority of the team (including the captains) supported his decisions. Little doubt parental over-involvement was a big part of his dismissal.

Today's kids and their parents want olympic level coaches, lots of playing time, and no punishment for poor sportsmanship or being a lousy teammate. It's a shame because sports can teach our kids a great many things they can't learn in a classroom.

I hope Paly can find a great replacement. Although, I'm not sure who would want a job with over-involved parents and no identifiable metrics for measuring success.


12 people like this
Posted by more to the story
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 24, 2019 at 1:26 pm

more to the story is a registered user.

Thank you Paly and PAUSD for protecting the student who filed a Uniform Compliant Procedure. There is obviously more to this story that the school and district can't discuss in order to protect the student. The coach's lawyer is working hard to spin a story about how his client was wronged. I trust the school wouldn't take this action if it wasn't deemed necessary to protect the student.


44 people like this
Posted by Staying Young Through Kids
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2019 at 1:44 pm

Staying Young Through Kids is a registered user.

@more to the story You clearly didn't read the public comment from the district.

No one was "protected" as no one needed to be protected. Ms. Hendricks and Mr. Paulson both confirm that complaints or concerns had nothing to do with the dismissal. The firing was based specifically and strictly on his performance. If the original Uniform Complaint had merit it would certainly be mentioned as part of his dismissal.

The district defended its actions and insisted that Stotland's termination was based strictly on his performance rather than concerns from any specific player or family. The decision to fire him — which was made by the Paly administration rather than the district office, Hendricks said — was "squarely not based on any complaints."


15 people like this
Posted by CGPA
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 24, 2019 at 5:03 pm

CGPA is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by local
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2019 at 9:27 pm

local is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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