Here’s The INSANE Emails Out Of Control Braintree Parents Sent Coach Kristen McDonnell That Forced The 2 Time State Champion To Resign
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The other day we shared this story about Braintree High School girl’s basketball coach Kristen McDonnell resigning after 8 successful years, including two Division 1 state championships, because some overbearing parents were leading a “parent revolt.” Coach McDonnell is as qualified as they get, having been a high school and college basketball star locally. She has sent many players on to Division 1 colleges, and they are incredibly loyal to her because she’s such a good coach.
But the Patriot Ledger, like most mainstream media outlets, did a pretty half assed job at reporting. They interviewed one parent, but it was a father of a player who supported the coach. Real reporters would find out who the other parents were. That’s the story. Luckily real news and real journalism is what we do at Turtleboy Sports, and we have the REAL story now.
For starters the Braintree Wamps had another wildly successful season. They lost to Springfield Central in the State Championship after winning the South Sectional District Tournament (upsetting arch rival Bishop Feehan in the process), and then defeating Andover in the State Semifinal. They finished with a 21-5 record, losing to Feehan twice, at Newton North, Enfield, CT, and Springfield Central. The fact that you can lose to a team twice and then beat them on the biggest stage tells you that you’re coached by someone who obviously knows how to make adjustments, study game film, and improve on weaknesses.
And when they won, they often won big. They beat Weymouth 54-9 and 71-23, Bridgewater-Raynham 73-30, Brookline 93-39, Framingham 79-18, and they beat Norwood, Needham, Dedham, Mansfield, and Milton by 30 points or more. These epic blowouts allowed Coach McDonnell to empty her bench and give everyone time on the court. Many coaches are not afforded this opportunity because they don’t murder teams like Braintree does.
But for whatever reason this was not enough for the expert parent/coaches in the bleachers. Not all, just some. Three sets of parents in particular. We do not want to embarrass kids for the sins of their parents, so we want to make it clear that none of this is the fault of the children. They’re in a pretty crappy spot because they’re going home and Mom and Dad are telling them that their coach is an idiot. An obstacle that needs to be overcome. And now their parents have basically forced this coach to quit. Coach McDonnell had no beef with the kids. She loved coaching them. But their parents drove her out of town.
They often stared her down before, during, and after games. Several parents we spoke with said it was incredibly uncomfortable. All three sets of problem parents were parents of seniors. One was the star player and leading scorer. What could a parent of a star player on a state championship finalist team possibly complain about? Well, apparently Lisa Dixon sent some emails to the coach, complaining that her child wasn’t getting as much attention as previous Braintree High School superstars got. Whatever that means.
The second parent is the parent of a really hard working kid who played tough defense, was the heart and soul of the team, but just wasn’t as physically talented as some of her teammates. That’s not a knock on her at all though. She’s playing on one of the best teams in the state. Even making the team is an accomplishment. But according to an email we saw but was asked not to screenshot, after the state championship game her mother Michelle Scarpa sent an message to coach McDonnell that said, “my beautiful lovely daughter will persevere despite your attempts to tear her confidence down.”
This is what coaches all over America deal with on a daily basis. Out of control parents who think coaches are intentionally trying to destroy their kid’s confidence by not giving them more playing time. Insane.
After the state championship loss the team held it’s awards banquet that many schools do to officially end a season. They gave out five awards: MVP, best offensive player, best defensive player, most improved, and hardest worker. Evidently parents Kim and Rick Tonetti were not happy with who got what award. This is Rick Tonetti:
And after the ceremony Rick went home and fired off this INSANE email to Coach McDonnell. Keep in mind that for most of the season their daughter was a starter, she just wasn’t the leading scorer or anything like that:
Now I get why she quit. Let’s break down his email one rant at a time. His misguided diatribes are in italics, followed by Turtleboy’s rational thoughts in bold.
There are so many other things you should telling my daughter “sorry” for, and I must admit that wishing her the best does smack of hypocrisy. As soon as I saw the politics her freshman year, I have been trying to get Bella to quit your team and concentrate on track where politics don’t exist. Politics and favoritism can’t exist in track and field; it’s all time and measurements. No matter how much a parent kisses the coach’s ass, or how many dinners they buy her, it won’t make the kid run any faster or jump any higher. I even told her, “wouldn’t if feel good to look over at Kristen’s favorites during the awards ceremony when you are standing up there getting every award,” but that’s not her style.”
You can tell a parent is a huge nudnik the second they start using the word “politics.” This is a word used by parents who think that there is some political conspiracy that is intentionally keeping their child from being the super star. There are no words for this type of delusion that can only come from someone with way too much free time.
More importantly, what kind of awful human being tells their kid to quit the basketball team because they don’t like the coach? The guy has been trying to subvert her authority for four years. He says it right in the email. And even worse, he tells his daughter that she should join the track team so she can live out HIS fantasy of getting a bunch of awards and shoving them in Coach McDonnell’s face. What an AWESOME parenting strategy that is!!
If you knew my daughter at all you would know that Bella is very strong willed, private, humble, loyal, and would not leave her team, even when almost every team parent had vocalized that you were intentionally trying to destroy her self esteem.
Yes, that’s exactly why this highly decorated woman took the low paying high school job for. To intentionally destroy the self esteem of a girl who was in the 4th grade when she started coaching there.
To quote one of the junior parents, “she treats her terribly.”
Well then, quoting another parent? Case closed!!
It is a testament to her strength and intelligence that she endured, proving her superior fortitude as a young woman. To this day, I have no idea why you treated her like this, and to be honest, I really don’t care any more. Whatever the reason, the problem is not hers, but yours.
“I really don’t care, and I’m going to write you this long email to show you just how much I don’t care.”
For years she managed to slug along as the teams most unselfish player, caring far more about defense than using her speed to score easy baskets by taking off down the court for an uncontested layup. Not a day went by when I didn’t tell her to “just score and get what is yours.” Even Stephanie Roche told her to “go and get 30 points a game, you’re the quickest kid on the court.” But as I have said before, that’s not her style. She is the definition of a team player.
This guy just admitted to the coach that he told his daughter to worry about her stat line instead of focusing on what was best for the team. The most remarkable thing is, he sees NOTHING wrong with this!!
And what does any of that even mean? How could she score an uncontested layup without playing defense and causing a turnover? Has this guy ever even watched basketball before? In other words, what he’s saying is that his daughter could’ve easily stood at mid court, not played defense, and waited for the outlet pass to score an easy two. This is what HE wanted her to do!!
I think that one of the main things that kept her going was that even though you never spoke highly of her, and barely, if at all mentioned her in an interview, the Globe, Herald, Patriot Ledger, and the commentators on BCAM did. Their unbiased opinions meant more to her than yours ever will. There is a reason why she was in the paper almost every week. They saw what you didn’t. I’m sure you are not interested, but just in case there is a link to follow at the bottom of this email. Don’t even bother watching the whole thing, just listen to the commentators at the beginning.
Oh for fuck’s sake. This guy really just told a 2 time state championship coach to go on an internet chatroom site and read comments from anonymous trolls about how good his daughter is. I mean, she could see for herself what a super star she had in her presence, but, ya know, she hated her. So she intentionally was ignoring her talent, despite the good it would’ve brought to the team, because she was trying to destroy her self esteem.
First you marginzalized her captaincy after she was voted captain unanimously I might add, by suddenly decreeing that every senior was now captain.
Marginalized her captaincy???? What does that even mean?? Here’s the Braintree roster:
You’ll notice that there are five seniors. It’s perfectly understandable that instead of having 3 senior captains, and leaving 2 out, Coach McDonnell elected to have her five seniors be captains:
It’s a cool thing to do. I’d probably do the same. Plus, she’s the coach so she knows the inner dynamics of the team, and if this is what she thought was best, then more power to her. Turtleboy trusts state championship winning coaches who have excelled in high school and college as players.
But according to Dad this somehow waters down or dilutes his daughter’s captaincy. As if it matters who the freaking captains are. What does that even mean? The girl was a 33% captain before, and now she’s just a 20% captain? They go out to talk to the refs at the beginning of the game and shake hands with the other team!! God forbid you have five girls out there instead of three. Wouldn’t want to “marginalize” anyone’s captaincy. Of course it’s safe to assume the kid didn’t even care, and the only one who was bothered by this was Rick Tonetti. These girls really look upset:
This is something you never would have done to the previous seniors, and probably won’t do for you upcoming favorites, unless of course they aren’t elected. I’m also pretty sure that this was also the first time that a returning Comcast all tournament player was not allowed to start in the tournament the following year. By the way, when people see (parent of another girl) Jeff Timberlake talking to all the officials ahead of time and his daughter starts and plays the entire game, it’s not a stretch for even the most naive to see when something is being manufactured.
Translation – I don’t like this other parent of a junior who gets playing tie, so I’m gonna toss his kid under the bus too.
Anyway, this was the final straw for Coach McDonnell. She had had enough of this after eight years, and the previous coach had resigned under similar circumstances. So she resigned in the most bad ass way possible – by forwarding this email to the rest of the parents and letting them know that emails like this were the reason she couldn’t coach anymore. She loves coaching, but she hates the fact that this comes along with it now. It wasn’t this way back in the 90’s, that’s for sure. We would’ve told our parents to sit down and shut up.
Well, after Coach McDonnell quit and put Rick Tonetti on blast, Mom fired up an email too. This is Kim Tonetti:
Her number one concern appears to be making sure that her daughter gets in as many pictures in meaningless, small town newspapers as possible.
An she’s actually a second grade teacher in Quincy:
So she should know a thing or two about obnoxious helicopter parents. But nevertheless, she persisted with an email of her own:
This can’t be real. But it is. Let’s break down Kim’s madness….
What you don’t get to do is tell a group of devastated teenagers who played their hearts out that their parents are rude and a disgrace, because they didn’t talk to you after the game.
She didn’t tell them that. Don’t get me wrong, you were in fact rude and a disgrace. But she never told them that because unlike you she has class and carries herself with professionalism.
Including my husband’s email as a guidance counselor (Coach McDonnell is a guidance counselor in Norwood), as someone who works with students, your reaction is unprofessional and childish at best.
Coach McDonnell is childish? This is coming from a woman who just wrote an email that amounts to second grade playground gossip. “This parent says you suck, and so do a bunch of other parents, so you must suck.” That’s basically the gist of what she wrote.
Sharing the parents letters is unethical, shows absolutely no integrity, and I can’t even begin to express, as a teacher for over thirty years, how completely inappropriate your behavior is.
Your husband just admitted that he told her to quit the team and not play defense. But yea, more lectures about what is an isn’t inappropriate please.
Your intent was to embarrass either the parents or the children or both which you did not succeed in doing, as they echo many other parents’ views. What you did do was to embarrass yourself.
Oh look, another person who thinks emails sent to public employees fall under a magical umbrella of secrecy. Newsflash – once she quits she can do whatever she wants. Her intent was indeed to embarrass the parents as you claimed Kim. Because make no doubt about it – your behavior is EMBARRASSING. You should feel HUMILIATED. The problem is that you don’t, and you see nothing wrong with it.
If you feel strongly about the email your husband sent then you should have nothing to be embarrassed about. But you thought you could get away with berating this woman outside of the public eye, and then you got called out on it. Parents like you are a disease, and for too long you’ve gotten away with your recklessness. Not any more. We’re calling you out one by one until this plague is eradicated.
As for junior parents, you seem to be under the misguided impression that they never question your behavior, your coaching or criticize you. Unlike you, I will not name which parents said what, as I would never try to embarrass them or their children.
Yea, don’t embarrass other people’s children. Just your own.
1. One parent for years has said nothing but negative things about you, even before the child was on the team. Their comments over the years have been….Kristen makes a mockery of this team. I have to walk out of the gym, because I can’t watch her coach.
Oh, you mean an anonymous parent with no coaching experience decided before her princess got to high school that the 2 time state champion coach didn’t meet her expectations? Well then, that settles that!
2. Another junior parent unsolicited “I hate that women over there. I can’t wait until I can write a letter to her.”
The scary part is this woman is a teacher, and she can barely spell or put a sentence together. Oh, and the junior parent she’s talking about is actually her, in case you can’t tell. Dad had no problem throwing the Timberlake’s under the bus. Naming names ins’t a problem for these parents.
3. Another parent during the playoff game was writing out plays for you, because they did not feel you knew what you were doing.
HAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!! A parent was drawing plays on a napkin during a playoff game that they won!! She actually thinks that matters. You cannot make up this level of stupidity. It’s mind boggling.
4. Another couple rips you apart every time your name is mentioned.
Once again, she’s talking about herself.
So it seems that the junior parents of which 4 share the same views as the senior parents not to mention countless past parents and players. You seem to surround yourself with parents who tell you what you want to hear, but the sad thing is they are the ones who have the most to say about you.
Actually, according to countless past parents, rival coaches, and media members, it seems like people who actually matter have nothing but GREAT things to say about her. Even ask them (including their rival Bishop Feehan):
We have seen first hand how amazing of a person and coach @CoachKristenMcD is. Her presence will surely be missed in this rivalry.
— BFHS Girls BBall (@bfhswbb) April 5, 2017
— CHS Girls Basketball (@Canton_Bulldogs) April 4, 2017
— Hopkinton Athletics (@HillerAthletics) April 4, 2017
@CoachKristenMcD much respect for the run you had. Thanks for setting the bar high and challenging us coaches to try and keep up. Good luck!
— lowellbasketball (@lowellhighbball) April 4, 2017
— Bob Briggs (@iamgratefulbob) April 5, 2017
— DS Athletics (@DSRaidersSports) April 4, 2017
Just heard Braintree HS girls hoops coach Kristen McDonnell steps down due to a "parent revolt." Unequivocally, one of best I've covered.
— Bill Burt (@BurtTalksSports) April 4, 2017
— Shaun J. (@ShaunJay) April 4, 2017
166-25 w/ 2 state and 5 sectional titles over 8 seasons wasn't good enough for some psycho parent. Think about that https://t.co/EChdRO3TMb
— Brendan C. Hall (@BHallESPN) April 5, 2017
Because Braintree High School is extremely lucky to have such an asset. Oh wait, WAS lucky. Until you ruined it. It’s literally all your fault. Well done.
On Kirk and Callahan this morning they were talking about this story, and agreed that the reporting was incomplete and lazy. They couldn’t understand why a coach would quit because of some emails. But that’s because those guys have never coached high school in the 21st century. Dealing with parents and being politically correct in order to please them is now part of the job. Back in the day you could just yell at them and tell them to stick it. Not anymore. Now Mommy and Daddy will complain to the principal, who is in the business of trying to please everyone and have the least amount of stress possible. And thus the principal will fire a successful coach in a heartbeat if they’re not good at keeping parents from emailing them.
That’s what happened here. The Athletic Director Michael Denice had the coach’s back. But ultimately he is hired by the principal, and the principal can overrule an AD. That’s what happened here. Principal James Lee was too GUTLESS and inept to realize what an invaluable asset he had with Coach McDonnell. And like a spineless coward, he sided with the parents by not putting them in check. Obviously they were out of control. If he had any sort of leadership ability he would’ve called a meeting and let them know who the coach is. Instead he tried to appease these LUNATICS and in the process he let a 2 time state champion coach walk out the door. What kind of candidate are you going to attract for the position now? Who would ever want this job? Answer – a mediocre, inexperienced person looking to collect a stipend.
I hope the Braintree parents, and any other “my kid’s a super star” parents read this. I hope they’re thoroughly embarrassed and humiliated. They’re out of control and need to be checked. A public shaming was in order because it’s the only way they will learn that this will NOT be tolerated any longer. We blame millenials a lot for everyone getting a trophy. But they didn’t buy the trophies. Parents like this did.
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