Turtleboy Shamed Braintree High School Into Rehiring Legendary Basketball Coach Kristen McDonnell After Psycho Parents Drove Her Out
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If you don’t remember this story from a few months ago, here’s the blog we wrote on it. It’s the third most popular blog in Turtleboy Sports history. It’s been read over 250,000 times. A couple weeks before we broke the story it was announced that legendary Braintree High School girl’s basketball coach Kristen McDonnell was resigning after 8 successful years that included two Division 1 State Championship, and a State Championship runner up trophy this past season. Her reasons were vague, and made mention of a parent revolt in her farewell email.
So Turtleboy did what we always do – got to the bottom of the story. Turns out that Coach McDonnell on the way out had forwarded some INSANE emails she got from parents, including this gem from Rick Tonetti, whose daughter recently graduated from Braintree HS:
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.”
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. To quote one of the junior parents, “she treats her terribly.” 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.
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.
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.
First you marginzalized her captaincy after she was voted captain unanimously I might add, by suddenly decreeing that every senior was now captain. 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.
After Coach McDonnell forward Rick’s insane email to the rest of the parents she then received a follow up from Rick’s wife Kim Tonelli, who teaches second grade in Quincy, and wanted to let her know what the junior parents were allegedly saying behind her back:
Imagine how full of yourself you have to be to be writing plays on a napkin because you know more about a former college basketball player who had coached your kid’s team to two state championships in 8 years. And by “another parent,” Kim was really talking about her husband Rick. This is new level of helicopter parenting, which happens at schools all over America today. We just don’t know about it because coaches and teachers are too afraid to come forward with these emails. If more coaches did what coach McDonnell did the public would realize what an epidemic this is.
Ironically last summer Rick Tonetti shared a positive article about his daughter participating in a camp being run by Coach McDonnell:
Braintree HS principal James Lee was too gutless and cowardly to put the parents in their place and back up his star coach. AD Matthew Denice wanted to keep her, but was overruled by his superiors.
Anyway, good for her for coming back. A lot of people would’ve told Principal Lee to beat it. But obviously Coach McDonnell is a woman of integrity who cared more about the kids than she did about her pride and she graciously accepted their offer when they came crawling back to her.
And make no doubt about it – this doesn’t happen without our blog. Without that blog the public doesn’t read the emails. There is no real outcry, as her reasons for leaving were vague. Coach McDonnell would’ve just been another coach victimized by out of control parents. The kids would’ve suffered, as her camp would end and the development of younger girls would’ve been stifled. They wouldn’t be making district championships, never mind state championships. But we shamed Braintree High School into doing the right thing. Because public shaming works, and Turtleboy fixes problems.
How’s that boycott going? Wouldn’t have time to follow it. Too busy helping kids. Beep, beep!
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