Several months ago Talk of the Sound began investigating reports of wrongdoing by Greg Papadopoulos, longtime coach for the New Rochelle High School Varsity Boys Team.
Papadopoulos has coached the high school team for years while also coaching various other teams in Westchester Youth Soccer, Youth Soccer of New Rochelle and others. Among the reports under investigation were allegations that Papadopoulos was putting ineligible players from his other teams on the roster of his New Rochelle High School team.
Matters came to a head for Papadopoulos in October when Stefedson Dieudonne, a New Rochelle High School player, was charged with assault for breaking the jaw of a player from White Plains High School during a game. At about that time came revelations that the New Rochelle High School Varsity Soccer team forfeited three games due to Papadopoulos placing an ineligible player on the roster.
As part of the work on that story Talk of the Sound submitted questions to Steve Young, New Rochelle District Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics (published below in full).
We were still reporting out the story when news came over the past few days that New Rochelle had posted a job opening for the position of Varsity Soccer Coach at New Rochelle High School. Papadopoulos had been fired.
Young and Interim Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Korostoff were asked for comment.
"We felt it was important at this time to give the program a fresh start come September," Interim Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Korostoff.
The job posting is for three positions: Boys Varsity Soccer - Head Coach, Boys Varsity Soccer – Assistant Coach, Boys JV Soccer.
Young did not respond.
Q & A with New Rochelle Athletic Director Steve Young
Q. It is my understanding that there were two major incidents this past year. One made the newspapers (Stefedson Dieudonne punched Ozzie Escobedo and broke his jaw, Dieudonne was arrested and charged). In that case the district issued a public statement. The other is that a player was found to be ineligible. I am told they were a “fifth year” player. That this was a person who was not actually taking classes or maybe not even enrolled in the district this fall. The player who was declared ineligible was 'inactive' in the school database but it was not discovered until after 9th game of the season.
A. This student had an up to date school physical. They were not a "fifth year" player.
Q. It is my understanding that the coach knew this, allowed the student to play anyway and that when another school complained the matter was investigated the team forfeited the games in which this student played. I am told someone complained when New Rochelle played Mamaroneck, presumably one of the coaches.
A. Neither the coaches nor myself were aware of this. Once I was made aware of it I approached the player and did due diligence to confirm this. This was taken care of before any school had complained and I made the appropriate phone call to our upcoming opponent, Mamaroneck, and made them aware.
Q. I spoke to the folks at SW BOCES who are responsible for governance issues like this and they referred me to you.
A. Section One does not investigate matters unless there is a formal report to them. I self-reported the violation to the Section One office.
Q. Can you confirm that a player was determined to be ineligible?
A. As mentioned above, we determined that he was not eligible.
Q. Was a complaint made to SW BOCES? If so, by whom and when?
A. As mentioned above, I reported the violation to Section One. No complaint was ever filed.
Q. Did the district report this matter to SW BOCES? If so, by whom and when?
A. I, as the Director of Athletics, self-reported us to Section One. I also notified the schools who were awarded victories as a result of this.
Q. If the students is old enough, can you provide the name of the player?
A. This is a confidential student matter and I cannot release the name of the player.
Q. Can you confirm that the team forfeited games, if so, which ones?
A. The team forfeited the victories in which this player was involved, which were 3 games.
Q. What would have the team’s record been and what did the team’s record end up being?
A. At the time of the discovery, the team had a record of 5 wins, 3 losses and 1 tie. Following the violation their record dropped to 3 wins and 6 losses.
Q. Was a determination made as to whether the coach knew the player was ineligible and, if so, was any disciplinary action taken against the coach?
A. As mentioned above, neither the coaches nor I were aware of this.
Q. Was any of this reported to the USSF or USSF affiliates?
A. The USSF does not govern interscholastic athletics and therefore an issue like this would not be reported to them.
Q. Was there any communication with players, parents, the board, the public about this matter?
A. We held a meeting with the players the day after we discovered this. Dr. Korostoff, Mr. Richardson and the Board were made aware of this. The District did make this violation public at the same time as the incident with White Plains.
Q. Any other comments you are care to add?
A. Since this incident we have notified our coaches to be diligent in recognizing any transgressions and have reviewed the eligibility policy in New York State as well as New Rochelle High School. Our soccer coaches are men of integrity and have been involved in this program for over 15 years and nothing like this has happened before.