Highland Park football coach Rich McGlynn is under investigation by Highland School District senior administration, after several students at a Highland Park School Board meeting on Nov. 20 accused the coach of assault and verbal abuse of students. Four students Brandon Doss, Dylan Darkwa, Jamaal Morris and Ray Fazo spoke to the school board and then presented a supporting petition with reportedly 80 signatures .
The petition made a formal request to have the district to investigate Mr. McGlynn, since informal requests to look into Mr. McGlynn’s behavior allegedly went nowhere. The students alleged that Coach McGlynn:
- Punched a student in the face
- Grabbed players by the facemask and slammed their heads together
- Threw a chair in player’s direction for being late to a game
- Pressured players to play through injuries
- Verbally abused “unprivileged players” and players from one-parent households
- Constantly cursed and used offensive language
- Cost a player his job by keeping him late at practice and making him late for work.
Two mothers of former students also testified to the school board members about Coach McGlynn’s overbearing and unacceptable;e behavior that in one case could have been fatal to her son who had a concussion and was told he had to show up for practice – with or without a concussion.
Robyn Decicco, the mother of a former player, said at the Nov 20 board meeting meeting that McGlynn came to her house after her son suffered a concussion freshman year and told her that being concussed was no excuse for missing practice.
“Obviously he’s not looking out for their well-being,” she said at the meeting.“I spoke to the administration. They didn’t say anything. They just let it go. I really hope somebody does something.”
Lorraine Poku, the mother of another former player, told the school board that McGlynn “harassed” her son to play football.
“This is a personnel matter (cannot be discussed at a public session) and there is an ongoing investigation,” Highland Park superintendent Scott Taylor said in a statement. Mr. McGlynn did not coach the Thanksgiving Nov. 22nd football game in Metuchen – a game that Highland Park lost 41-8 – another loss in the winless season. This is the first winless season, since the football program’s birth in 1937. In recent years, the program has had problems attracting players.
According to press report from www.mycentraljersey.com, Mr. McGlynn “comprehensively denied” the allegations through his attorney, Edward Cridge, who added that Mr. McGlynn “will be vindicated at the conclusion of this process.”