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Oct 8, 2014 11:39 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Board Fires Westhampton Beach Boys' Varsity Soccer Coach

Oct 8, 2014 12:52 PM

After 23 years of service, Don O’Brien, head coach of the Westhampton Beach High School boys’ varsity soccer team, was fired on Monday night.

Although district officials have declined to divulge any information on what led to the coach’s termination, two parents whose children play on the team said Mr. O’Brien was let go after a player reported him for swearing during an away game against Rocky Point on September 17.

Mr. O’Brien, who also is a physical education teacher at Westhampton Beach High School, received a $6,621.25 stipend for coaching the team this season. He is still employed by the district as an educator.

He declined to comment when reached this week.

Boys junior varsity soccer coach Cody Hoyt was promoted to the varsity coach position on Monday night, after the Board of Education approved Schools Superintendent Michael Radday’s recommendation to fire Mr. O’Brien.

One of the parents in attendance on Monday night, Tom Brezinsky, said the student who leveled the charge was frustrated with the coach and made up the story to get back at him. Mr. Brezinsky was joined by fellow parent Frank Lombardo during Monday’s meeting.

Both fathers said they were upset with the way the district handled its investigation, which involved High School Principal Christopher Herr, Athletic Director Kathy Masterson and Mr. Radday questioning the students about the game at Rocky Point and other incidents regarding Mr. O’Brien.

“The kids got pulled out of class and away from tests for this,” Mr. Brezinsky said. “It was not handled the right way.”

Mr. Radday said although some of the investigation took place during school hours, the district was careful not to disrupt the students’ academic schedules.

Although Mr. Radday would not discuss the specifics of the investigation, or confirm what prompted it, he said his discoveries during the probe led him to recommend that the board dismiss Mr. O’Brien as coach, retroactive to September 29.

“Coaches are appointed on a year-to-year basis and hold no long-term rights to coaching positions,” Mr. Radday wrote in an email. “In view of the fact that this is a personnel matter, I cannot provide any additional details at this time. This decision, as with all personnel decisions, was made in the best interests of our students.”

Westhampton Beach Board of Education President Suzanne Mensch declined to comment on the board’s decision, citing district policy not to discuss personnel matters in public.

Mr. Lombardo said in addition to the stress of being pulled away from an exam to be questioned, his son has suffered a great amount of emotional stress because of the coach’s dismissal. Mr. Lombardo explained that his son, now a junior, left Westhampton Beach after his freshman year but chose to return this year just to play for Mr. O’Brien.

Mr. Lombardo and Mr. Brezinsky both praised Mr. O’Brien for his dedication and generosity, particularly his willingness to spend his own money to buy shorts for players who cannot afford their own and sponsoring a local family’s Christmas last year. Mr. O’Brien also received much praise for setting up a charity soccer game in honor of his former player, Juan Cárdenas, who died in a motorcycle accident in July 2013.

“They’re penalizing a guy who’s done nothing but good for others,” Mr. Lombardo said.

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Twenty-three years of service and fired for swearing. Another case of political correctness run totally amuck. Heaven forbid a high school kid hears someone curse.
By bird (829), Southampton on Oct 8, 14 2:16 PM
I guess the kid who reported him didnt get enough play time on the field.
By LongIslander (43), HAMPTON BAYS on Oct 9, 14 7:56 PM
2 members liked this comment
Sounds like there's a bit more to the story......
By bettyboo (38), Westhampton on Oct 8, 14 6:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
cause their is
Oct 8, 14 8:43 PM appended by whbsoccer123
lol
By whbsoccer123 (1), Remsenburg on Oct 8, 14 8:43 PM
Revenge by a rotten kid.
By LongIslander (43), HAMPTON BAYS on Oct 9, 14 7:56 PM
Probably more to it. But I guess being an example is not important to bird or the ones who liked his comment. I give the School credit.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Oct 8, 14 6:20 PM
It's not the uttered word but the lack of self-control. My guess it wasn't just one time thing.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Oct 8, 14 6:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
23 years of coaching-there are over 500 former players who would have nothing but good things to say about Mr. O'Brien. The school made a mistake because of some medicore player.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Oct 8, 14 6:48 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By eastend10 (1), WHB on Oct 8, 14 7:21 PM
As a playa on the team for 3 years here's what went down
Kid on team lies to parents because coach yelled at him. Kid tells his parents coach called him a f......in piece of s..t. Not one of my teammates heard coach say this. We know he lied and want him off our team. He goes home again and cries to his parents that we picked on him. Parents go to school mad blame coach. Principal her calls us down takes our phones and laptops. Total B.s just want my coach back he's the best
By Hurricanes (1), Westhampton on Oct 8, 14 8:10 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By double standard (1506), Remsenburg on Oct 9, 14 8:09 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By GaryBauer (1), Rocky Point, New York on Oct 9, 14 8:27 AM

Readers should know the full story, and just how grimy this school district has acted. The way in which Westhampton Beach School districted conducted this "witch hunt" is appalling. Starting with Principal Chris Herr. Members of the boys varsity soccer team were pulled from their classes, one by one, the day after the game and questioned. They were brought into the principal's conference room, and asked to confirm a story one of their teammates had alleged. The principal coerced the interviews ...more
By pjberns81 (2), SWR on Oct 8, 14 8:16 PM
Mr O'Brien is not the only one. There are law suits against them for doing horrible things to good hard working people! The district is out of control!
By NataliaMykhaskiv (2), Ternopil on Oct 9, 14 1:01 PM
what a joke. I've played for coach for 2 years now and all i want to do is quit. they treated my coach like a piece of trash because one idiot on the team was crying about getting taken out of the game. mr herr is a jerk who tried to act all tough interviewing us and even took my cell phone to see if i texted coach or anyone else. we are all pissed, and they ruined our season and our year. i can't wait to transfer next year.
By whbsoccer99 (1), westhampton on Oct 8, 14 8:27 PM
The Westhampton Beach High School handled this whole situation wrong. As it has been stated in previous comments, they based their decision on the words of 2 - 16 year olds, rather than 15 others. This article has many lies and a rather important one. "Some" of the investigation was not taken place during school ours, all of it was. Everyone's schedules was disrupted. It didn't matter what class you were in or what you were doing as kids were taken out of their tests. O'Brien has done little ...more
By longisland3 (2), westhampton on Oct 8, 14 8:31 PM
Well dont you think that a coach should be fired for harassing a student, Anyways 23 seasons and two league titles, big whoop!
By downwithobrien (2), WHB on Oct 8, 14 8:40 PM
Before I say what I'd like, anything that you had to say went out the window when I saw your name. Really? "Harassing a student".. Did you even read the article? By the way, to bring up anything having to do with league titles, championships, and anything else, proves that you have nothing to say. I could name quite a few coaches/schools that haven't won a single game in years, are you going to go comment down with them too?
By longisland3 (2), westhampton on Oct 8, 14 8:45 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By whbsupra (1), east quogue on Oct 9, 14 11:03 AM
Former player for 4 years. I support OB. Society now a days is raising whips that expect things and parents that coddle them. Yes, there is a line between abuse and the hard truth. I hope people get the real story.
By JohnCorreia (1), East Moriches, New York on Oct 8, 14 8:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sounds like Dad got his panties in a bunch and had enough pull to make this happen. The kid is probably going to wear the scars of this overbearing father. Snitches never make it in this world. Whatever the coach said, suck it up and shut your mouth -- unless it's a Penn State type problem!
By nazznazz (276), east hampton on Oct 8, 14 8:55 PM
“They’re penalizing a guy who’s done nothing but good for others...”


Too often, it's the way our world works.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Oct 8, 14 11:00 PM
Honestly What happened was dumb and very knows that but I just want every one in Westhampton Beach to Really know who OB is... a couple months ago last year because of him my winter was better because of all the help he was able to put together from him and many others to help my mother my sister and I. I look up to him in great regards not only for the help but because no one else in my life has had an impact like he did. I remember having a conversation with him and all I was saying was thank ...more
By DiegoMendez (1), Flores Petén, Peten, Guatemala on Oct 8, 14 11:40 PM
If what a number of posts above say is true, one must question the propriety of the principal seizing personal cell phones of the players. The laptops may be the property of the district and their privacy is probably subject to certain predetermined conditions, but the phones should not have been examined.

This appears to demonstrate a severe fault in judgement on the part of Herr. Will this be examined as well as the principal's decision to fire the coach?
By VOS (1241), WHB on Oct 9, 14 3:02 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By ObrienIsAJerk, Westhampton on Oct 9, 14 6:26 AM
This story and the comments follow the same pattern as the story about the gym teacher who filmed the girls. Everyone defends the teacher as a great human being until the facts come out. Do you really think the administrators would take on all of the heat that comes with firing a coach if there was not more to the story? They just are not allowed to discuss personnel matters publicly. The rest of the story will eventually come out.
By WS (9), Westhampton Beach on Oct 9, 14 8:07 AM
1 member liked this comment
BTW, my comment was not meant to imply that anything similar happened in this case, merely that people jump to conclusions about stories because they like the teacher - not because they know what really happened.
By WS (9), Westhampton Beach on Oct 9, 14 8:09 AM
There is no rest of the story. You obviously have no idea what you are talking about and are just spewing nonsense. What an awful comparison to make. Do you have any knowledge of the story? Just because one person did wrong, that doesn't mean anyone else "fits the pattern". That case wasn't a blanket for every other person or case that happens. People can be treated unfairly, and those that do really know what has happened are right for standing up for what they believe. Stick to what you ...more
By eastend10 (1), WHB on Oct 9, 14 12:28 PM
Whatever happened to reprimand and move on. This man has served his community for 23 years and you fire him for cursing?! This is what happens when we elect weasels and morons to our School boards.
By GaryBauer (1), Rocky Point, New York on Oct 9, 14 8:22 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Waveman (3), East moriches on Oct 9, 14 9:00 AM
names have been revelaed and student confidentiality violated. I semll a massive lawsuit. It says here both the Stupervisor and the Prncipal will ge gone when the smoke finally lears.
By nazznazz (276), east hampton on Oct 9, 14 10:37 AM
this is upsurd, to fire a coach for swearing at an away game, that is the whole part of sports people get frustrated and even if its true or not this is the worst excuse for firing a coach... good job.
By whbsupra (1), east quogue on Oct 9, 14 10:52 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By eastend10 (1), WHB on Oct 9, 14 12:20 PM
This is ridiculous. The kid gets taken out of the game for yelling at his coach from the field. he continues to badger the coach as he is on the sideline, goes home, cries to mommy and daddy and gets his coach fired? he made up lies, he came up with false accusations, and in true administrator fashion, Chris Herr, Kathy Masterson and Mike Radday all took the bait, hook line and sinker. The kid is 16, he was lying and even had his little buddy, who dates his sister, record Coach O'Brien when they ...more
By eastend_10 (3), Westhampton Beach on Oct 9, 14 12:41 PM
3 members liked this comment
I agree with some comments on here! Totally political! This school is run by corrupt crooks (speaking from experience. They will squeeze out all the people who are hard working and are dedicated but keep lazy worthless scum.

This is just another example. Both my brothers had Mr O'Brien as their coach and never had issues. This soooo makes me sick how this administration is able to get away with such horrible corruption. They do nothing but waste tax payers money!
By NataliaMykhaskiv (2), Ternopil on Oct 9, 14 12:58 PM
What I'm wondering after reading all these comments, is what happens to the kid for lying? Is there no consequence? Are we teaching our kids its ok to make up stories and lies about people you don't like, and you can get away with it? That seems troubling.
By pjberns81 (2), Shoreham Wading River on Oct 9, 14 12:59 PM
Yes that is very troubling, the kids were playing in the game yesterday, which they lost.
What about consequences for the administration? The principal conducted this interrogation as if he were on a manhunt. Removing students from classes during the school day in which they missed important tests and curriculum to question them about the allegations not one, but two full days. Does the administration not value the importance of education? The parents of these young men were not notified ...more
By Waveman (3), East moriches on Oct 10, 14 11:36 AM
The man has 23 years of service, he did nothing illegal, and he gets fired? Maybe a 2 game suspension if the board feels strongly, but to be fired is just ridiculous. The students writing in are making more sense than the board or the adults writing here.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Oct 9, 14 1:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
A comment that I posted earlier this morning that spoke of the deplorable behavior of the administration of the westhampton beach school district particularly the superintendent, the athletic director and the high school principal was deleted shortly after it was posted. This comment, all of which is public knowledge, was meant to make a point that these are the leaders of our school district, making decisions about our children? It is interesting that this post, who left out specific names ...more
By Waveman (3), East moriches on Oct 9, 14 1:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
No, I got deleted. I understand why, but it was not left un-moderated. Yours should have been kept up. It should be public knowledge who is running our children's schools and the way in which they conduct themselves.
By eastend_10 (3), Westhampton Beach on Oct 9, 14 1:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
Is the school principal Christopher Herr related to the Democratic party leader for Southampton town, Gordon Herr? Or is that a coincidence?
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Oct 9, 14 2:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
This has been the worst experience ever for us players. We have worked so hard forming a tight bond as players and respect Coach O'brien beyond words. He has been a role model , a great coach and someone that we love playing for. Just because one kid on this team lied we are all suffering and paying the price. This so called teammate is the one that doesn't deserve to be part of our team, not our coach. Our bond has been broken , we lost our leader and are stuck with a lying jerk as a teammate ...more
By Whbsoccer21 (1), Whb on Oct 9, 14 3:22 PM
2 members liked this comment
As a team tell the new coach you don't want to be on the field with this kid as he is a liar and NOT a team player. If you ALL refuse to play with him the coach will Have to bench him. Remember strength in numbers. At the high school level there is NO guarantee you get to play. Liars need to be benched. Good Luck Guys.
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Oct 9, 14 4:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
Mr. Obrien coached my son in little league this year. I have nothing but good things to say about my sons experience. He was positive and reassuring to all of the children regardless of skill level. Its truly a shame that this man in being treated this way.
By dmitchell (2), Sag Harbor on Oct 9, 14 4:49 PM
Hope Mr O'Brien gets a lawyer and sues-there is no evidence to back up this kids story. Parents of other players should also sue for the way the school treated their children. School has no right to confiscate cell phones without a warrent-they are personal property.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Oct 9, 14 10:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
If every kid on the team says this never happened how does an overpaid and they areall overpayed administrator make such a stupid decision.Herr should be fired immediately because he has exercised poor judgement and even worst leadership. Parents who coddle and spoil their little brats aren't doing them or society any good. This student should be suspended immediately. Show some backbone WH
By maxwell (169), speonk on Oct 9, 14 10:05 PM
hopefully this child and his father can start their own soceer team
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Oct 10, 14 11:47 AM
I dont believe that we are hearing both sides of the story, its true there is need for further investigation, but just because the majority of the players are saying "Oh we want our coach back"... I doubt the superintendent and Mr. Herr would have removed him without evidence. A very similar like situation happened at his old coaching job at Smithtown West, Coincidence?
By downwithobrien (2), WHB on Oct 10, 14 9:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By truthbetold, Rocky Point on Oct 11, 14 12:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By truthbetold, Rocky Point on Oct 11, 14 8:08 PM
Clearly Coach O’Brien is well liked by many, myself included. However that doesn’t change the FACTS in this situation. The article does NOT say the coach was fired for swearing it says “two parents whose children play on the team said Mr. O’Brien was let go after a player reported him for swearing during an away game.” One parent goes on to say “the student who leveled the charge was frustrated with the coach and made up the story to get back at him.” Ironically ...more
By 3SidesToAstory (2), Westhampton Beach on Oct 10, 14 10:50 PM
Its amazing in this day and age of terrorists beheading people, diseases ravaging the continent of Africa we fire people for cursing. This is disturbing since social media is filled with swearing, and inappropriate nonsense.that all the students are aware of. Our society has become very thin skinned, not to mention very weak. Its fascinating that you can work 22 years doing good, but you swear your fired. Maybe the board should go to a sporting event and listen to the parents swearing and screaming. ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Oct 11, 14 9:03 AM
3 members liked this comment
We support coach Obrien 100%. My son was in the room when the concerned players went to talk to their coach about being pulled out of academic classes by the principal. Note...my son and other players went on their own accord during their lunch period to the gym to talk with their coach, whom they respect, look up to and ask for guidance on a daily basis. My son and his teammates were upset, felt intimidated and were very uncomfortable that they were questioned not only by the principal, but that ...more
By Sportsman (1), Manorville on Oct 11, 14 11:33 AM
2 members liked this comment
Thank you for writing this. I also want to echo, that my son, on his own lunch time went to see Coach O'Brien. Mr. Herr pulled him out of a class, in which he was taking a quiz, and spent the evening prior preparing and only to be put under the questioning of not only Mr. Herr, but assistant principals, one of whom has been on staff for maybe 2 months. As a parent, I am extremely angered that my son was put in this situation, without being notified. Why did Mr. Herr not contact the parents first? ...more
By eastend_10 (3), Westhampton Beach on Oct 11, 14 1:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
The boys weren't suspended because they aren't lying. There are 2 (possibly more?) players who substantiated their story but are keeping quiet about it. And why is that? They don't want to be on the receiving end of the backlash that these two other boys are receiving. And who could blame them for that? After 23 years of service the coach was NOT fired for swearing at a player. Again, RIDICULOUS! All of this finger pointing and name calling is not doing anything to help the coach. Shouldn't that ...more
By 3SidesToAstory (2), Westhampton Beach on Oct 11, 14 1:17 PM
The Administrators in the WHB School District used poor judgement,and perhaps broke the law,by demanding students cell phones. Students trust that adults(teachers,principals,coaches,etc) are looking out for their best interests and will protect their constitutional rights. These administrators did nothing of the sort. It is quite possible that there are grounds for a lawsuit here.
By East End Gent (7), Sag Harbor on Oct 12, 14 10:26 AM