Due to a recruiting violation, a Menlo varsity boys lacrosse coach was dismissed from the school on Monday. Photo courtesy of Conor McCusker.
By Kaitlyn Tom and Gillian Bressie
A varsity boys lacrosse coach was fired for arranging for tuition payments to be made for a prospective athlete in an effort to sway the individual to enroll at Menlo, according to an email sent to the Menlo community at 7:30 p.m. on September 25.
The issue came to light 12 days ago, and Head of School Than Healy immediately launched an investigation and validated the report. In response, Healy informed the Menlo School community in the aforementioned email that he has reported the incident to the Central Coast Section (CCS), is beginning an audit with the business office, and is planning to reinforce the education of Menlo coaches surrounding CCS regulations.
Neither the email sent to the Menlo community or Healy’s meeting with the boys lacrosse team indicated that the student had any involvement in the discussed payments.
The investigation, led by Head of School Than Healy and former Athletic Director Kris Weems, yielded no evidence of misconduct otherwise and suggested that this was an isolated incident. It should be noted that this incident was not the cause for Weems' recent departure. "It is important to me personally to note that the timing of former Athletics Director Kris Weems’ departure is strictly coincidental and has nothing to do with this matter," Healy said in the email.
Following Healy’s report to CCS, the league will contact Menlo either accepting Menlo’s response as sufficient or requiring additional sanctions to the steps Menlo has already taken. These sanctions could include restrictions on the player, the varsity boys lacrosse team, or the Menlo athletics department, according to what Healy said at the boys lacrosse team meeting.
At the boys lacrosse team meeting, Healy stated that, while Menlo waits for the CCS’s response, the search for a new boys lacrosse coach will begin. This search will be led by Interim Athletic Director Joe McDonald and Dean of Students Tony Lapolla. It’s unclear at this point whether the new coach will be from inside or outside the program.
Teachers were informed of the incident today at an emergency faculty meeting at 3:15 p.m. about what transpired. In addition, the entire varsity boys lacrosse team, as well as their parents, had a meeting with Healy and Lapolla at 6:30 p.m. to discuss what occurred and the steps Menlo is taking to repair the athletic department and the team’s reputation.
Both the President’s Council (the four class presidents, student body president, student body vice president, secretary/treasurer, and activities coordinator) and the Student Athletic Advisory Board are scheduled to meet to discuss the issue tomorrow and next week, respectively.