Norwin school board opens position of girls soccer coach
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Norwin School Board last week voted to open the position of girls soccer coach, which Jeff Palm held for the past four seasons, to other applicants.
Athletic director Brandon Rapp said the district evaluates head coaches after the completion of each sports season, and the board made the decisions on fall coaches last week.
“It was a surprise,” Palm said of the school board's decision. “It was disappointing to hear their decision.”
In Palm's four years as coach, Norwin compiled an overall record of 64-16-4, including the playoffs. The Knights won or shared two section titles. In 2010, Palm's first season as coach, Norwin finished as the WPIAL runner-up and advanced to the PIAA semifinals.
The Knights finished 14-3-2 in 2013, coming in second in Section 1-AAA and falling to Canon-McMillan in the opening round of the WPIAL playoffs.
“I appreciated my time here at Norwin,” Palm said. “I valued the support of the team.”
Palm said he wasn't sure what went into the school board's decision to open his position to other applicants.
A letter read by a freshman player at last week's meeting expressed dissatisfaction with Palm's coaching methods and treatment of players.
“I believe that coach Palm, the women's soccer team coach, should not be reinstated as the coach next year,” the letter began. “Coach Palm has continuously disrespected the girls on the team by making rude comments.”
Norwin players and other supporters spoke in favor of Palm at another board meeting Monday night.
“He has been a lot of the reason for our success,” said senior Abby Churchfield, who played for Palm for four years and was a captain of the 2013 team. “He taught us things that (weren't) just soccer-related. He taught us how to work together and how to be respectful.”
Churchfield added Palm was “always professional with us, always treated us kindly.”
Board President Robert J. Perkins said any comments regarding the decision not to rehire Palm should be directed to the school superintendent, who would forward it to the board. Perkins added that Palm was free to reapply for the open coach's position, and Palm said he planned to do so.
Aside from opening Palm's position, the board voted to retain Norwin's other fall varsity coaches for the 2014-15 school year. Coaches who will return include Mike Buscemi (girls golf), Mary Ellen Ferragonio (girls volleyball), Brian Fleckenstein (cross country), Ryan Hornick (girls tennis), Laura Peery (field hockey), Neil Rushnock (boys golf), Scott Schuchert (boys soccer) and Art Tragesser (football).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.