Relationship turns sour between school, coach
March 1, 2013
Relationship turns sour between school, coach

As with any relationship, things sometimes fall apart.

And when that happens, a period of cooling and healing must take place before associations can be cordial again.{{more}}

Principal of the Thomas Saunders Secondary School (TSSS) John Renton shared this view, in relation to the soured relationship between his institution and one of this country’s premier track and field coaches.

Renton, speaking exclusively to SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, said that an incident which took place at the track and field heats of his school last week, caused the coach and two top former athletes of the school to be barred from attending the 8th annual meet, at the Victoria Park this Tuesday.

Renton said that at the heats, the coach, whom he did not identify by name, assisted by the former students, interfered with athletes in various ways, while the current students were going through their motions.

“…He was coaching them, and it is Mr (Godfrey) Harry who at present is the coach at our school, so that wasn’t really acceptable.

“And frankly, they were trespassing on the park, because we had the use of the park for the day, and they weren’t invited. So it’s kind of a negative influence on the school’s athletics programme when these people were not invited, not really part of the school’s athletics programme as such, came and they really made a kind of nuisance of themselves.”

One person familiar with the incident, told SEARCHLIGHT that the coach, identified as Michael “Lord Have Mercy” Ollivierre, and former TSSS students Brandon Parris and Najee Israel, provided refreshments for athletes, assisted with warm-up, timed the races, as well as videotaped the performances.

The individual said that Ollivierre and his athletes did not communicate with school authorities before doing so.

Renton admitted that Ollivierre had worked closely with Harry and the school in getting athletes to the prestigious Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, but things went off track, when Ollivierre started recruiting current students for his IT DAT track team.

“The well recognized order of allegiance is country, school, club. If athletes have to go and play for Thomas Saunders, we’re very proud that they should do so,” the principal claimed.

“If they want to participate in activities with a club, and this does not interfere with our own athletics programme, we have no problem with that. We would much prefer coaches would liaise with us, so that the details could be worked out, so that any prorammes could be run in a coordinated and mutually beneficial manner, and that wasn’t done at our heats.”

Renton indicated that the possibility of working along with Ollivierre is not off the cards, but guidelines must be put in place before such a partnership can take place.

“Of course I would say nothing is impossible in the future, but it would have to involve a period of a cooling….

“The school cannot do this on its own; we are looking for the assistance of the ministry of education and sporting authorities to help us thrash this out so that we could move forward in a logical and reasonable manner.”(JJ)