New York HS Basketball Coach Resigns After Students Racially Abuse Opponents

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2014

Kevin Downes, a high school basketball coach in Mahopac, N.Y., has resigned from his job after several students tweeted racist comments at an opposing team following a 43-40 loss in the Section 1 Class AA semifinal on Feb. 27. 

According to Josh Thomson of The Journal News, Downes met with the athletic director at Mahopac High School to discuss his future and made the decision to step away following the incident, saying it was the right thing to do. 

I did a lot of soul-searching the last two weeks and just felt like the best thing for me to do was to move on. I was kind of heartbroken over all the stuff that happened — not just the comments that were made but the 200-plus times those comments were liked, favorited and retweeted (on Twitter). It was tough, and it's been tough on my kids.

The report also says that Downes and Mahopac school officials looked into allegations from the Mount Vernon team that players "had used slurs during or after the game."

Thomson and Nancy Haggerty broke the news on March 6 that three Mahopac students had been suspended following a series of racist tweets directed at Mount Vernon players, and that more suspensions are expected. It also included a few of the items that students were accused of tweeting out.

Warning: offensive language.

One characterizes Mount Vernon residents as "monkeys"; others refer to absent Mount Vernon fathers.

One reads, "One of the few biological Mount Vernon fathers just tried to sell me crack outside the county center."

In Thomson's solo report, he stated that a total of eight students had been suspended for the incident. 

In the March 6 report, Mount Vernon Schools Superintendent Judith Johnson wanted the Mahopac varsity basketball team suspended for one year. 

Downes is also quoted as being disappointed in the Mahopac community, saying the reaction only turned negative after the media heard of the incident and painted a negative portrait of the town. 

Mahopac was his alma mater, and he had been the head coach for seven seasons. 

According to Downes (per Thomson), he has hope for a continued coaching career, but felt it was time to "move on."

I don't think my coaching career is over, at least I hope not. But if it is, I'm proud of what we were able to do. I think, in the future, if an opportunity came up, I certainly would like to be able to coach again.

Downes, 42, was a successful coach at the school. His teams made it to the sectional semifinals in each of the last four years and a championship game appearance in 2012 against Mount Vernon. 


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