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UPDATED: Soccer coach let go
Greece, N.Y. - A coach at Greece Athena High School for 25-years, Bill Hueber said he was shocked when he found out he'd lost his spot as the boys' varsity soccer coach, his team meant the world to him. "Soccer has been my life forever--I started coaching when I was 18," Hueber said.
A quarter of a century with the Trojans, Hueber started off coaching the freshman team and worked his way up to the varsity level 12 years ago. "I've given this program everything I've got because I love this program. Its been successful and I want to keep it that way."
Named division coach of the year three times, Hueber and his team have racked up a number of awards and titles. Six years in a row now, Huber's team has won at least 10 games a season, a record most soccer teams strive to get.
"I've done everything as a coach so I was shocked, to this day I am shocked, I'm just shocked--this is not right," Hueber said.
Each year coaches have to reapply for their positions--Hueber was the only person to submit an application but for some reason wasn't rehired. From the school's athletic director to the district superintendent, his application made its way up the chain of command, given a stamp of approval at every stop until it got in front of the school board.
In a 4-3 vote, the board of education turned down the recommendation with two board members abstaining. "Basically 4 of the 9 board members didn't approve me and I lost my job," Hueber said.
UPDATED: 13WHAM News received the names of those four board members. The members against Hueber returning as coach were Adam Crandall, Joe Grinnan, Gale O'Toole and Julia VanOrman. The three members in favor are Sean McCabe, Terry Melore and Frank Oberg. Two members, Bill Maloney and Lisa Christoffel, abstained.
Hueber told 13WHAM that he asked the board what he did or didn't do as a coach to lead them to this decision but was never given an answer. "That's what bothers me the most, that I haven't been given a reason and that's why it's definitely not performance based it's got to be personal."
Given no explanation or warning, the coach and his players were stunned. "We have no idea why this would happen, that's why we're all so shocked," said Thomas Hank.
UPDATED: Laurel Heiden, Community Relations Manager for the Greece Central School District, contacted 13WHAM with the following statement Tuesday evening:
Given recent comments made in the media regarding the Board of Education vote as to the Greece Athena Varsity boys' soccer coach, we want to be clear that there were no conflicts of interest that prevented any board member from voting on the appointment. As board members are all community residents, many are parents of students or graduates, former employees, District graduates, or have other ties to the school district in other ways. It is the Board of Education's responsibility under the law to review and provide final approval for all staffing recommendations. All members of the Greece Central School District Board of Education take that responsibility seriously and cast their votes based upon what they believe to be in the best interests of the program and students. In some instances there are differences of opinions among Board members. In this case, four Board members made the determination not to approve the appointment. As a District, we respect the Board's decision and are moving forward in the search for a new coach.
Watch the video above for 13WHAM's coverage of this story on Monday, July 14.