The Tim Green Saga could very well be renamed the Mistake by the Lake
By Ed Griffin-Nolan
I’m sure that when all the dust settles it will become clear that the mess involving Section III football in Skaneateles was drummed up by the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District. It was the perfect ploy. Who else stands to benefit from a neighboring school district being dragged through the mud and made to look like a bunch of incompetents or cheaters, or both? Not to mention the fact that all the gridiron and courtroom shenanigans caused the local daily to draw one of its best investigative reporters off the JE beat and put him on the trail of the Lakers football coach. Brilliant move on their part.
Then again Jordan-Elbridge might still be smarting from their defeat at the hands of the Lakers back a month ago, when quarterback (and former coach Tim Green’s son) Troy Green set a Section III record by throwing seven touchdown passes. Seven touchdown passes. Wow. That’s unheard of.
And it should be, according to one longtime local coach who lives on a horse farm overlooking Otisco Lake, just a few hills over from Skaneateles. Larry Hart, 74 and now retired, spent almost 20 years as athletic director at Tully High School. He did a stint as AD at Homer and some coaching at West Genesee. He has coached runners, football players, basketball players and a few lacrosse teams, both boys and girls. He started working with high school athletes when Tim Green was in grade school and spent an entire career shaping young lives.
Hart doesn’t claim to know much about the recruiting scandal that got Skaneateles bounced from the Sectional championship and which ended Green’s brief stint as head coach, but it doesn’t surprise him. (Neither has he ever faced a team with assistant coaches and a deep bench full of lawyers.)
“What has bothered me all year long,” says Hart, “is that they have run the score up on anyone they can run it up on. They have the quarterback throw what, five TD passes in a blowout? You don’t do that. You find a way not to do that. You let other kids play. Any coach who has a feel for what high school sports is about doesn’t do that. Every team you play deserves a certain amount of respect.”
The record makes it hard to argue with the seasoned coach. There was that LaFayette game in September when Skaneateles scored 34 points in the first half to their opponent’s 6, then came out of the locker room and piled on 27 more. Or the 67-7 pounding of Hannibal on Oct. 1, when the Lakers scored half their points in the second half. In that game Troy Green ran for three touchdowns in addition to his five aerial scores.
“I could have had kids do that many times,” says Hart. “But you don’t do that. I could have had kids run up the score in many games. In soccer if we got certain goals ahead, we didn’t take shots anymore. It’s high school sports.”
Now Green has resigned and the courts have upheld Section III’s disqualification of the Lakers from the championship game. Green and his lawyers have insisted all along that everything they have done has been “for the kids.” If we take that at face value, may I suggest that the school do one more thing for the kids? Give them the truth. Of all the very strange things about the very sorry saga being played out in the hamlet by the lake, one of the strangest is the failure of the school district to name the coach who committed the alleged recruiting violations.
If you read the report that the district submitted to Section III athletics, you will find that it mentions inappropriate contacts made with student athletes from other schools, but it doesn’t name the coach. I call it the Voldemort Report, after the character in the Harry Potter series who is referred to by timid students and faculty as “he who shall not be named.’ From other sources, and a pile of common sense, most of us have figured out that the Voldemort character is the same coach who resigned to try to put it all behind him, the same coach who is regularly doing a John Boehner imitation when he speaks on camera about the kids he loves, the same coach who took over the team last year as his own son took on the quarterback position. That coach.
that feels a bit like piling on, or running up the score, that’s
understandable. Just tell the truth. It’s about the kids, after all.
Read Ed Griffin-Nolan’s awardwinning commentary weekly in the Syracuse New Times. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org