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Webutuck uniforms under fire

WEBUTUCK — The Board of Education (BOE) was surprised to learn at its Monday, Jan. 9, meeting that the high school’s cheerleading squad was seen wearing black uniforms at a recent event, which is a stark contrast to the district’s colors of green and white.BOE Vice President William McGhee stated at the meeting that a member of the community had brought the issue to his attention.New Athletic Director Jon Zenz was in the audience, and he made it clear that there are many organizational issues to fix within the district’s athletic department.“There has not been a protocol for coaches to do what we want them to do,” Zenz said.Zenz said it was his impression that prior to his arrival this school year, no one had been organizing the athletic department. For example, he said that basketball is a “disaster” in terms of combinations of uniforms.“The basketball uniforms were in seven different places. You can barely walk in the storage room, it’s a mess,” he said. “I still have to do spring and fall sports. I don’t know what I’ll find.”When asked how the cheerleaders ended up wearing black uniforms, Zenz said there has been no communication with the school’s Booster Club.“When they want something, they go out and buy it. It may not be white and green,” he said, noting that uniforms can be purchased with other schools to save money, which could affect color selection.Board President Dale Culver emphasized that they shouldn’t assume the Booster Club is responsible. Zenz said he would meet with the club soon to discuss the issue.“There are moments you sit here and can’t believe what you hear. I would not dream a coach would order the wrong colors,” Culver said. “We’ve got to figure out how to get order to it.”Zenz said he could have the athletic department organized in three to four months.“I have a lot of fires to put out,” Zenz said.School board member Joanne Boyd said that while the district appreciates the help of the Booster Club, it should not be purchasing uniforms.BOE member Judy Moran said that coaches must face consequences if something is done wrong, and Zenz mentioned that he recently held a coach’s check until all uniforms were returned. That issue was ultimately resolved.School board member Robert Trotta said that an accurate inventory must be made of the school’s uniforms and equipment.“Going forward, everyone needs to be on the same page,” Culver said.The board agreed that the following actions should be taken with regard to the athletic program:• All teams must wear appropriate uniforms;• Coaches should be held accountable for returning uniforms and equipment;• Zenz should receive help with the organization and inventory of the uniforms and equipment.Zenz also mentioned to the board that he would like to create a feeder program for grades four through eight that will allow students to learn about sports, improve their skills and get excited to join modified, junior varsity and varsity teams.Culver said the board would be happy to look at a written request for such a program.

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