SPORTS MANAGING EDITOR
NEW BRITAIN - The firing of Darwin Shaw as New Britain boys basketball varsity assistant coach and junior varsity head coach was met with outrage on the New Britain Herald website and social media, with many readers taking issue with the decision to remove the 32-year coaching veteran.
Many who posted on the Herald Facebook page were quick to jump to Shaw’s defense. Shaw compiled a 457-115 record in more than three decades with the JV team, according to the now-former coach.
“He deserves some straight answers,” wrote Mike Black on the Facebook page. “His coaching record is great. 32 years and no issues? Something’s off about this.”
Many didn’t understand the need to go in a different direction at the JV level after new coach Mike Reis was hired.
“What a terrible way to treat someone for coaching over 30 years,” reader Geri O’Keefe-Curtis posted on the New Britain Herald website. “They should have told him in the summer – at least he would have had time to inquire about other coaching positions before school began in the fall. Bad move NBHS … bad move.”
Reader Stephen Earley wrote on Facebook: “With the millions of dollars generated through ticket sales, tv contracts, and shoe endorsements I can see why going in a different direction after 32 years at the JV level would be important. That's a poor decision, done in poor taste. NBHS is not UConn.”
Paul D. Cantazaro added, “Something smells, not professional at all after 32 years sad. Wonder why we get a bad name!!!”
Some readers on the Herald website even called for a protest of the decision.
“This is so sad as a community we should ALL protest at the NBH,” wrote Thel Mcd-So on the Herald website.
That drew this response from Bonnie Eaton: “I couldn't agree more he is a better coach & the young men had great respect & love for Mr. Shaw. They will lose in the end they went about it poorly & unprofessionally this coach didn't deserve this. He should have been able to keep his position his record speaks for itself he has went above & beyond & to have him let go how so not cool. This is a complete shock to all who have known Mr. Shaw.”
A big reason for the outrage online was the fact many believed Shaw was a great example as a leader of men within the school and sports programs.
“Coach Shaw is a great man and for them to do something like that to him is despicable,” Brandon Ayala wrote on Facebook.
Alexandra Marie wrote Shaw is the “most supportive coach!”
“It is a shame, not only a great coach a tru (sic) mentor and role model for the kids,” Daniel Grunwald posted on the Herald website.
William Clark had this to say about Shaw on the website, “New Britain is constantly trying to showcase success stories of its graduates....Coach Shaw has been doing this for 32 years … not long enough … His ability to bring out the best in his ballplayers while leading through example, has done New Britain proud....High school coaching is not just about a bouncing round ball … The use of a game to teach character building is often, very often, overlooked … Coach Shaw's approach to the game was always a pleasure for me to observe at NBHS … Hopefully his successor will also embody Coach Shaw's love for His players, His school and the game.”
More than one reader not only thought Shaw was a great man, but believes the real problem with the New Britain sports program lies elsewhere.
“Coach Shaw is a stand-up guy and a great coach. How does (New Britain Athletic Director]) Len Corto keep his job. He’s terrible and the main reason NB sports have gone downhill since he’s been in charge. NB parents should protest to get him fired!” wrote Aggie Kuryna on Facebook.
In a post on the Herald website, Jerry Carter, president of VIBE Athletics didn’t mince his words.
“Len Corto has to be one of the worst Athletic Directors in the state of CT! How do you have over 3,000 students in your high school and continue to lose in sports!?! How do you have over 10 elementary schools in New Britain and no decent sports program for the younger kids!?! The kids should have a sports program in the elementary schools and should require a “C” average to participate so this prepares them for middle school/high school athletics and prepares them in the classroom. … Sad day in city of New Britain.”
One reader had a different kind of suggestion for Shaw. “Get a lawyer and then get a great retirement from the city!” Lori Zajac Kageler wrote.