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Corrupt Andover Superintendent Shelley Berman Fires Coach Chris Kuchar Despite Back To Back Conference Titles And MIAA Sportsmanship Award

 

Andover High School and their corrupt superintendent Shelley Berman is back in the news.

This is infuriating. Here’s a quick recap of what happened last year in a series of blogs we did on highly successful hockey coach Chris Kuchar, who was suspended and investigated by DCF after an unidentified parent complained that he was too mean during practice and didn’t let the kids eat food as a way to punish them on a road trip.

  • Then we found this INSANE 6 page letter that Berman wrote to Coach Kuchar after Berman’s son (a senior) was benched in favor of a freshman. Berman called out a child by name, and claimed to have superior coaching methods in hockey because he finished in 4th place in the Big 10 in an unnamed sport back in the 70’s. (see the whole thing at bottom of the blog)
  • We did some research and found out that the sport was fencing, and he not only didn’t finish 4th place in the Big 10 for Wisconsin, he rode the bench and won a participatory certificate. For the fencing team.

Since then he’s been awarded the MIAA’s sportsmanship award, was named coach of the year by the Eagle Tribune, and his young team this year surprisingly won the conference for a second year in a row.

Keep in mind, Andover was not particularly good at hockey before he arrived, winning just 5 games the year before he got there. He turned the program around completely.

And for that he was rewarded with losing his job. I’m seething with anger writing this. As a former teacher and coach I know all too well what it’s like to work for a corrupt administrator who puts their own selfish grievances over what is best for the kids. I’ve seen time and time again what can happen when one out of control parent decides that they don’t like the job the coach is doing and try to get them canned.

But what happened in Andover was on another level because the superintendent WAS the out of control parent. Berman had no ties to Andover. He was a career climber who left one failing district after another from Oregon to Kentucky, leaving a trail of destruction behind him. He’s one of the highest paid superintendents in the state, making over $230,000 a year. His son Dale, wasn’t very good at hockey, and didn’t join the program until Shelley moved to town. And because the coach had the audacity to make a decision that was in the best interest of his team the superintendent fired him for that.

And did I mention that Shelley Berman missed EVERY graduation in the district last year so he could go on a vacation to South Africa with his mistress? The same woman who is in charge of the roll out of a new program he implemented in his district.  His response to missing graduations as the superintendent was allegedly “I’m entitled to take personal vacation time and in fact the school committee encouraged me to take more.”

What a sad, pathetic excuse for a man.

To his credit, Coach Kuchar is calling a spade a spade:

“This is over petty politics. This is not about the kids because if it was, I’d be back for another season. I’m devastated by the fact that the administration hasn’t been to a single game in at least 4 years and they say that OUR philosophies don’t align. The say they are always looking out for our kids? I think they just hurt a large group of their student athletes today!

Kuchar said Martin, the school’s athletic director, offered a possible meeting with Principal Conrad next week.

“I said, ‘I can meet with him right now,'” said Kuchar. “He said, ‘He’s not available until next week.’

“People said last year that you’re crazy to want to come back,” said Kuchar. “I looked beyond those petty issues. I love the kids here. They’ve become a part of my family. We had built something together here … It’s very, very disappointing.”

I know the feeling all too well. There are tons of teachers and coaches in this state and the country who feel the same way. They show up every day, work their ass off, have the kid’s best interests at heart, and all they want from their bosses is to be monitored and assessed fairly. The principal at Shepherd Hill didn’t step foot in my classroom for 7 years but still wanted me gone. I wanted nothing more for her to sit in my class and observe me because I was proud of the work I was doing. Same thing here. Berman didn’t like him, he resented the fact that things were going so well, and as a result he couldn’t fire him. Then he waited for the story to die down and pulled the plug, hoping Kuchar would go quietly. That obviously didn’t happen.

I also worked with Andover’s Athletic Director Bill Martin at Shepherd Hill, who applied for the AD job several times and was denied each time. Kuchar met up with him last week for an end of the season evaluation, and Martin alluded to the likelihood that he would not be hired back:

“Then I said, ‘Wait a minute. Bill, we just won the league title and state sportsmanship award,'” said Kuchar. “Bill said, ‘I have to put my evaluation together. I don’t have it yet … I have to talk to Phil [Conrad]. … Chris, I think you’re a good coach, good for our kids. This is not my call.'”

He’s good for the kids and he’s a good coach according to the guy whose job it is to run the athletics program. But none of that matters because “it’s not my call.” So here’s a question Bill – why do you want this stooge job? Because that’s what you are – a stooge for administration. You are the Sarah Huckabee Sanders of the Andover Public Schools. Your opinions don’t matter. You are there to be Shelley Berman’s mouthpiece, because he’s too gutless to fire Kuchar himself.

Kuchar was a year round coach at Andover too, not just a winter guy:

He also added a second junior varsity team to the program, funding it with money raised by an Andover High hockey golf tournament that he created. Kuchar’s teams were also deeply involved in local charitable efforts. They’ve raised money by running the Feaster Five and the Krit Classic road races in town. They serve the annual Christmas meal at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence. They’re involved with the Andover youth hockey’s player of the week program, and they raised money to contribute to rehabbing the team locker room.

“We not only took over a program that struggled on the ice,” said Kuchar, “but it was even worse off the ice. Former athletic director Don Doucette told me there were discipline problems and the image of the program was not good. Honestly, that was our first goal, and we took care of that.”

We sponsored a hole at that tournament:

This is a travesty, and Coach Kuchar is hardly the only one suffering here. Honestly, I’m happy for him that he’s out of that toxic environment. I have no doubt that he’ll be getting phone calls from other schools in communities where people actually care about kids. But it’s the kids he coached who suffer without his guidance as a result of a corrupt administrator who couldn’t get over the fact that his 18 year old son just wasn’t very good at hockey. Here’s what one of them had to say:

“This is a shame and embarrassment for our administrators,” said Feeney. “Tons of coaches have gone through hardships with this administration. What they did to coach Kuchar two years ago was a disgrace — and they know it. It was all made up. I’ll never forget what coach Kuchar did for me,” said Feeney. “I broke a nice stick during practice, and the next day I told him what happened. He ended up going to the hockey store and getting me a new stick. I was in shock. I knew then that he had my back.”

But this is how democracy works sadly. The School Committee hires the superintendent. After that letter was leaked Berman should’ve been immediately fired. Instead he was given a raise. The taxpayers then should’ve voted out the SC members who enabled this moron, but instead they re-elected the idiots enabling him. You get the government you elect. Nice going Andover.

 

 

 

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