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Parents Speak Out Against Lady Raiders Basketball Coach

A group of parents told the Riverview School Board they are concerned about girls' basketball coach's behavior.

Some parents say they're unhappy with the coach's treatment of players on the Riverview High School girls' basketball team.

On Monday night, a handful of parents told the school board they're "disturbed" by coach Keith Stitt's behavior toward the Lady Raider team. Others defended the coach.

Stitt, who has been coaching the Lady Raiders for four seasons, didn't respond to emails sent by the Plum-Oakmont Patch seeking comment.

Parent Carol Segelson Dezort said the coaching staff has displayed aggressive and intimidating behavior toward the players.

Dezort also said Stitt grabbed a player by the neck during the Jan. 14 game against Springdale—he received a three- to five-day suspension.

"I'm sure we can do better as a district in finding coaches for our teams to develop their skills, educate them and give them positive support without taunting or intimidating them," she said.

Parent Keri McAndrews said Stitt means a lot to the players, and he must set a good example for them.

"Nobody can condone what happened," McAndrews said. "I understand he's passionate about this game, but he's displaying a totally wrong image to the girls."

Parents Marty Kennedy and Jim Ashbaugh said they have nothing but good things to say about Stitt.

"I have not encountered a better coach or a finer man," Kennedy said. "Coach Stitt was in the wrong [on Jan. 14], there's no doubt about that.

"That, in my opinion, does not undo the many good things that he's done for these girls…I think he is a tremendous asset to this organization."

Ashbaugh said that while it should have been done differently, Stitt was trying to prevent a player from saying something to a game official during the Springdale game.

School Board President John Hackworth said officials couldn't comment on the matter because it is a personnel issue. However, he said he knew little detail about the incidents. 

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Any Good Citizen January 24, 2013 at 04:46 PM
This picture is from a previous year. Several individuals contribute to many problems at this school. Nonetheless, an article like this does nothing to help anyone. It is defamation. Shame on you Plum Patch.
Basketball Fan January 24, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Carol Segelson DeZort is not a parent of any current players or students at Riverview High School, just a spectator that is voicing a biased opinion of what she thinks she saw and or hears at games. Keri McAndrews has been on this site's police blotter and is a parent of children of this district but not a parent of anyone on the team nor has she ever attended a game. The credability given to these individuals without any research on this one incident or these individuals and their motives is reprehensible.
Long term resident January 24, 2013 at 11:03 PM
After reading the above comment, I felt compelled to comment. Just because one person's name may be in a police blotter, does not make that person a uncreditable individual nor someone with ulterior motives. I did not find Keri McAndrews comments to be anything more than her opinion and one of common sense. Mrs McAndrews is a great asset to Oakmont and Verona. She cares for these kids and is their voice, helps kids from troubled families or just ones who needs someone to listen to them. Not too many adults do that anymore and I thank her.
KP January 25, 2013 at 03:18 AM
This article had statements from no parents speaking out about coach Stitt! There were only parents of players who spoke for him! As a writer you should be ashamed of the lack of research done here. If you ask anyone in this town about coach Stitt you will hear nothing but great things. Oh and he's been coaching in this community for a lot longer than 4 years why don't you ask some of his past or present players how they feel about him? You'll think very differently of the man shown in this article! I know this because I am one of them.
Maryland January 25, 2013 at 12:57 PM
It is a sad commentary on todays society when three people, two of which were not present for the game, get a forum with the school board to slander a mans reputation. These individuals took one incident and trashed a lifes work of dedication, caring, and excellent coaching. The only event more egregious is the above article.
Ernie January 25, 2013 at 01:25 PM
While I appreciate your passion for the subject, try to maintain some perspective. The School Board Meetings are open to the Public under the Sunshine Laws. The Citizens have an "open mike" to speak in front of the Board. There are no rules about what they are allowed or not allowed to say. It is up to the Board to listen to all citizens if they have an issue they want to put before the Board. You cannot criticize the Board or the system for giving them "a forum"...it is the Law that they be given that forum. As to your opinion of the article, I too thought it was a bit problematic, but then I was guided to a more reasonable approach. The reporter was at the Board Meeting, and she is reporting what was said at the meeting. Period. I don't think we can hold her up to some sort of Investigative Journalism standard here simply because she is just reporting what was said at the meeting. I suppose we could debate the merit of reporting the statements if they are not true, but that is probably a different article entirely. This one is just a plain report of what was said at the meeting. So, while I may agree with your passionate response to the entire picture of what went on at the meeting and will continue to be discussed, please don't let your anger get directed at the Board or the reporter. They both did what they are required to do...
Oakmont Native January 25, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Although my daughter is in elementary school, we participate in the RAA leagues yearly and I see how easily when someone is passionate about the game and his/her players, how a person may yell or seem intimidating. That does not mean they are abusive or in any way a threat to our children, they are passionate about their sport and sometimes its easy to forget that you may need to tone down with kids. How many of us have yelled at football, hockey, baseball games and cussed or slammed our drinks down, why? because we love the game and we are passionate. You want that in a coach. I have heard nothing but good things about coach Stitt and his coaching staff. Honestly, we need teachers and coaches like we used to have at Riverview.. Mr Sullivan, Mr. Popvich, Mr. Beebe and Coach Cappa, these were hard men but great ones and kept us in line and made us better individuals. I think we need more people like this, because when I was in school, there was no school shootings or teachers being sued etc. If Mr. Stitt stopped a girl from speaking out of turn to a ref or anyone else, What parent would not have done the same to stop their child from acting like a jerk and being disrespectful, was it his right? No, but the same people would complain if he didn't why didn't he stop her. One incident should not ruin his coaching career, passion for our Riverview Raiders and all the good he has done for our school. I hope to see him at further games
Basketball Fan January 26, 2013 at 10:44 PM
Ernie, I wholeheartedly disagree with your comment on the reporting at this meeting. On the Patch's web site in the "About Us" section they state: What Is Patch? "We want to be the most trusted, comprehensive and relevant news and information resource in your community." You cannot be MOST TRUSTED if you are not investigating statements that you are publishing. Most of us realize that the school board cannot control who speaks at the public meetings, but as a journalist reporting on these meetings, more work needs to be done than just showing up and publishing what is said! Long Term Resident, while I agree that Ms. McAndrews 'takes in' other peoples' children, provide food and shelter does not make one a great asset to our community. Ask her neighbors how much the neighborhood has changed since she has moved back to Oakmont. Ask the police department how many times they have responded to incidents at her resident or regarding her 'children'.

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