EAST PROVIDENCE – As of Friday afternoon, winter sports at East Providence High School are on ice. Time will tell if any sort of thawing-out action occurs.
In response to the fall sports coaches not receiving their pay, the winter sports coaches at E.P. have decided to cease all responsibilities and duties. The decision to take a hard line was started by boys’ basketball head coach Alex Butler, who also coaches the Townies’ girls’ volleyball program.
The E.P. boys’ hoops team was scheduled to play against Bishop Hendricken Friday night, but that was before Butler informed school athletic director Paul Amaral that the scheduled game would not take place under his watch. Butler talked to his players about the chain of events and what led to this unfortunate tipping point. East Providence girls’ basketball coach Mike Solitro followed suit with his team.
According to a source, those who coach football, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls soccer, girls volleyball, girls soccer and cheerleading were told that they would be compensated for their services in the next pay period upon the completion of the last fall sports activity. That was the annual Thanksgiving Day game against La Salle, which took place on November 22.
The coaches’ checks were supposed to be distributed Friday. The source said that the checks were printed and set to go, but behind closed doors at Thursday’s Budget Commission session, it was deemed that the checks would not be dispersed.
“It was verbally approved, but I guess not physically approved by a vote,” noted the source. “You’re messing with people’s livelihood, especially around the holidays.”
Coaches of the school’s indoor track program followed the lead set by Butler and Solitro, as Friday’s practice was canceled. East Providence’s hockey game against Narragansett went off as scheduled Friday – a 6-1 Townie victory. Another game is scheduled for Saturday night at Lynch Arena against the West Warwick/EWG co-op team.
The same source mentioned that the R.I. Interscholastic League is aware of the situation, “but there’s only so much they can do” as far as rescheduling games down the road. Right now, the Townies are on the docket to partake in 12 varsity events next week along with four junior varsity matches.