A group of Gorham High School seniors is upset after they were told they wouldn’t be playing in a big lacrosse game Thursday night — or ever again.
Students and parents said this stems from ongoing problems with one of the coaches and his behavior.
“It’s our senior year, and this means a lot to us,” said Gorham High School senior Bode Coleman, a captain on the varsity lacrosse team.
He and his dad, Jesse Coleman, said there have been issues for years with one of the Gorham coaches.
Jesse Coleman said the administration and athletic director were made aware of it.
“Sometimes certain actions go well beyond any type of appropriate coaching and the type of verbal abuse and berating of our athletes is unacceptable,” Coleman said.
The players claim the coach recently became upset with some athletes after they wore eye black during a game, and then refused to speak to them.
“Our tipping point was when he told all of the seniors that we were benched for the first quarter of our next game, which was a really important game for us and a really important game for us to win,” Gorham High School senior Justin Chasse said.
It was during that game against Waynflete on Tuesday that the seniors decided to make a statement.
“We wanted to still support our team while we made our protest. So we walked to the other end of the sideline,” Bode Coleman said.
On Thursday, the seniors said Gorham Athletic Director Tim Spear told them they were off the team because of the protest.
“This is a big part of my life right now. So it’s really unfortunate that it had to be dealt with like that,” Coleman said.
Jesse Coleman said the athletic director told him in a meeting Thursday that the coach in question also was no longer with the team.
The coach wasn’t on the sidelines during the game at Windham on Thursday. Seven seniors didn’t play and sat in the stands instead.
“This has been an ongoing issue for a long time. To see the boys stand up against it and then get punished for doing so just seems absurd,” Jesse Coleman said.
The superintendent, athletic director and the coach did not respond to requests for comment.