NEW BRITAIN — The New Britain boys basketball program decided to head in a different direction by hiring new head coach Kurt Reis this offseason. But with that has come a surprising move that cuts ties with a coach who has been part of the program for the past 32 years.
Assistant and junior varsity coach Darwin Shaw has been fired from his coaching role — a move he said caught him off guard.
“The new coach, the athletic director [Len Corto] and the principal [Joseph Pinchera] decided to go in a different direction,” said Shaw, who is also the founder and director of the Osgood Shootout, which takes place at New Britain High School. “I met with [Reis] about two weeks ago and he told me he was just bringing in his own people. It wasn’t anything I expected. I’m not pleased with it and there are some hurt feelings. After 32 years, the district didn’t show much loyalty.”
Shaw had met with Reis in August prior to the start of the school year, but the now-former assistant was given a non-committal answer as to the state of the upcoming coaching staff before ultimately being let go.
Reis and the administration chose not to comment on the situation.
In response, Shaw said he has filed a grievance with the administration but has yet to know when he will meet with them.
“It’s not losing the job that bothers me, it’s the way they did it,” Shaw said. “I’m hurt by how it happened and the way it happened. They could have just told me in the summer. I felt like they should have just been upfront and told me. I’m disappointed in the higher-ups. It’s bad business.”
Shaw’s connection to Reis goes back to before New Britain decided to hire him to replace Todd Stigliano, as he knew him during his tenure at Hartford Public. Shaw was even asked to be on the hiring committee that determined the new boys basketball coach. Despite declining to do so, the former assistant was still a key voice in the process.
“I lobbied for him to get the job,” Shaw said. “I told the principal he would be good fit here because he came from a program that has some of the similar kids we have. I didn’t want to be [on the committee] because I knew most of the people that were interviewing, but the principal told me I didn’t have to worry about my job. He told me, ‘Shaw, you don’t have to work about that.’ I’ve been through four coaching changes. It was a shock to me. I thought over the years, I had built up some respect to where they would have just told me upfront. It was definitely hard to absorb.”
As of for why he believed the decision was made, Shaw said he still isn’t sure.
“As the JV coach, I’ve always thought those teams have been good,” Shaw said. “With 457 wins and 115 loses, it can’t have anything to do with my coaching or anything basketball wise. At the end of the day, it’s about the kids and the community. But I have no idea [about the reason for the decision].”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach