Turtleboy Investigates

Turtlegram And Gazette Runs Hit Piece On Well-Liked, Successful Shepherd Hill Football Coach After Whiny Parents Complained He Said Mean Things During Practice

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A few weeks ago we got a message in the inbox from a parent of a former football player at Shepherd Hill Regional High School. She wanted us to write a story about her son’s former coaches. Shell Shocker corresponded with her in the inbox about it, and it didn’t go as she planned:

I agreed with 100%. A coach bullying a kid by yelling at him? What planet am I on where this has become a thing? When coaches are mean to you it’s because they care about you, and are trying to get the most out of you. These kids never would’ve lasted at Worcester South High School. My football coach at South High School (who shall go unnamed because he’d probably be charged with a hate crime by modern day standards) asked us one day,

“Do we have cunts here? Do we have any cunts? Do we have any fucking pussies?” 

I didn’t know what the right answer to that question was and he ended up making us do up-downs anyway. But my point is that football is the only sport where coaches talk like this. It’s part of the culture, and we all survived.

I’ll tell you what nobody did though – none of us went home and told our Moms about it. Because my Mom probably would’ve embarrassed me by raising hell like this. Other kid’s Moms would’ve said, “He’s the coach” and left it at that. That’s the difference between 90’s kids and these kids – we weren’t raised to be soft.

Just a disclosure here – I used to work and coach at Shepherd Hill. When Shell Shocker (who is a real person I hired, and has been on Turtleboy Live multiple times) told me about this I said we’re not getting involved. Not that I’m unwilling to do a story on Shepherd Hill, but because the Mom was nice enough about it and this was a dispute between her and the coaching staff that we would never be able to verify.

That all changed today when the Turtlegram and Gazette published this hit piece on Coach Dugan:

Here’s a summary of the Turtlegram article:

  • 30 year old Shepherd Hill football Coach Ryan Dugan took over the team from his stepdad Chris Lindstrom 2 years ago, inheriting one of the most successful programs in the state in the last 10 years.
  • Parents allege that Dugan has 1) ostracized injured players, 2) had punishment practices after losses, 3) “bullied” players by swearing, embarrassing them, and using sexual terms
  • The article interviews several angry parents, including the woman who messaged us, but doesn’t get a single quote from a player or parent who supports the coaching staff
  • One parent alleged that last year Coach Dugan made him play on an injured ankle against Wachusett, but an investigation by then superintendent Gregg Desto cleared him of these allegations. However, Desto said he addressed the coach’s “inappropriate” language during practice
  • After a 28 point loss to Grafton the team had a 7 AM military style practice the next day in the mud that lasted 90 minutes and was entirely running, pushups, and other conditioning exercises
  • Parents allege that after the loss they scrimmaged in pads from Monday through Thursday, but MIAA rules limits contact in practice to 60 minutes a week during the season
  • Dugan doesn’t confirm or deny any of this, as coaches and teachers aren’t allowed to speak with the media
  • Parents claim that Dugan is so hard on them because he’s telling them he’s preparing them to play in college
  • At the beginning of the year principal William Chaplin, AD Sean Burke, and interim superintendent Kristine Nash warned him to change his “old school ways”
  • Nash met with parents representing a grand total of 5 players, on a team with over 50
  • A parent named James “Joe” Thompson has an injured son who plays QB, was one of the parents who met with Nash, and claims that assistant coach Clark aggressively asked him why he went to the superintendent first instead of the coaching staff after a loss to St. John’s. The parent says they felt threatened as Clark was in his “personal space”
  • Clark was suspended indefinitely after the incident, and Dugan was suspended for one game due to potty language after the Grafton loss
  • Dugan has abolished rules that ban injrued players from wearing jerseys at games, and said there was no truth to the claims that injured varsity players have to take the JV bus

Shepherd Hill has not had a losing since 2009, and plays one of the toughest schedules possible. They have sent countless kids to play in college, including Michigan starting tight end Sean McKeon, Boston College All-ACC offensive lineman and NFL prospect Chirs Lindstrom, UConn starting running back Kevin Mensah, and fellow BC offensive lineman Alec Lindstrom. They also have many more alumni dominating at other colleges, including Drew Jean Guillaume at Central Connecticut State and Nick Ostrowski at WPI.

These parents are vouching for him after the Turtlegram hit piece came out.

She’s right. Whatever happened to talking to your kid’s coaches and teachers before complaining? Douglas Mom disagreed.

Personally, I’m with the Mom whose kid is the starting tight end for Michigan, and had an illustrious career as a student and an athlete at Shepherd Hill. But that’s just me. I’m sure Sean McKeon has gotten reamed out by Dugan and the coaching staff before, but since he’s a winner he dealt with it instead of running home to Mommy.

I don’t know Coach Dugan very well at all, asides from some small talk in the locker room, but I do know this – he is incredibly popular with the players. He’s also very supportive of them and truly wants what is best for them.

And the fact that these parents only represent five players tells you a lot. The parent who messaged us is from Douglas, as many parents now school choice to Shepherd Hill because they’re so good at producing D1 football players. Another parent is from Webster. I don’t know them personally, so I can’t comment on what happened. But I do know this – there is an epidemic at Shepherd Hill, and suburban schools in general, of out of control parents who think their kids are the greatest thing since sliced bread. I talk about it a lot in the book which is set for release next week, including experiences I had with parents like this.

I’m also with Shell Shocker about the kid running home to tell his mother what the coach said. Football is not like any other sport. I coached track and cross country at Shepherd Hill, and I never spoke to kids like this, even though I was kind of a hard ass at times. I coached 110 pound kids who liked to run. I don’t need to toughen them up because running every day does that already.

But football is different. It’s a violent sport where kids go to war. They have to be mentally and physically tough. It might’ve been awkward when my coach in high school asked if I was a cunt, but it scared the shit out of me. And you need to be a little scared when you play football, because the guy on the other team doesn’t care if he hurts your feelings.

If you’ve never played football before than you’ll never understand. That’s why it’s so ridiculous for Moms to get involved in this. Of course Mom is going to clutch her pearls when she hears that coach called her son a pussy. That’s her baby.

At Shepherd Hill, just like at many other schools, there is a climate where administrators fear 2 things – 1) angry parents, and 2) the media. Parents went to administrators all the time, often with ridiculous, baseless complaints, instead of addressing it with the coach first. When these parents ran to the superintendent first, they should’ve been told to go and speak with the coaching staff first to see if the dispute could be resolved. Instead they allowed this to happen. Shame on them, and shame on the parents.

I will say this – it’s pretty telling that these parents reached out to Turtleboy before they did to the newspaper of record in town. They just didn’t like the fact that we didn’t see an issue, so they ran to the Telegram and Gazette instead (their backup choice), knowing that the mainstream media is always eager to spit out some fake news.

As for the practicing in the mud the day after a loss, who cares? It’s football. If you don’t like 7 AM practices where the coach is pissed after a loss then join the golf team. Or cross country. When my kids had a bad race they went out and ran the next day anyway, because I could never hold running over their head as punishment. This is not a story. There’s expectations at Shepherd Hill, and for the first time in 10 years they have a losing record. Not coincidentally this is when the rats start jumping ship.

The only thing that wouldn’t be OK is making kids play when they’re injured, but I don’t see any evidence that this actually occurred, except for the word of a jilted parent.

Anyway, I’m sure there’s a lot more to this story, so if anyone who plays now, or has played for Coach Dugan before wants to talk with us, send an email to [email protected] or message us on Facebook. If Abi answers tell her you want Shell Shocker or Uncle Turtleboy. Unlike the Telegram and Gazette we like to hear both sides of a story before jumping to conclusions and smearing a hard working and well liked coach.

25 Comment(s)
  • Randall Guy
    November 5, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    You have to be a moron to let your son play football anyway.

  • Independent Thinker
    November 5, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Today, if the track coach yells out, “you boys are running like a bunch of old ladies,” he’d get fired. Sadly enough, that seems to be the direction the country is headed.

    Coaching sports is a lot different from teaching music or algebra.

  • Caro
    November 4, 2018 at 1:48 am

    I’m a girl who played football way back when and even I knew not to take the things my coach screamed at us personally, it’s angrily loud constructive criticism. Don’t play like shit if you don’t want to get reamed a new asshole. Simple as that. I made damn sure to never miss a block again after my coach grabbed my facemask and screamed at me for being a stupid piece of shit. Any football parent that expects the coach to coddle their kid is delusional.

  • DJ
    November 3, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    I went to high school in the 80’s..my God if there were kids crying cuz their football coach hurt their feelings, they would have gotten their asses kicked and made fun if by the whole school. Plus if they had their mommy complain they would have been laughed at forever. I have a bit and if he came and said my coach is a bully cuz he swears at me, I would yank him out if football cuz he would clearly be too soft to play. This Kristen lady us what’s wrong with making our kids babies.. SMH

  • Helicopter sports parents be like
    November 3, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    The only solution is to keep changing schools until you find a program that doesn’t think you’re a complete pussy. That’s probably how the guys who went on to play pro did it.

  • Don't Be A Lickspittle
    November 3, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Salem High School once had a a line coach, a very good line line coach, who would pick up a worm from the rain soaked practice field, eat it, and then bark while yelling, “who’s afraid of the Mad Dog?”

    Now whenever I see a soggy worm I suffer an episode of PTWD, Post Traumatic Work Disorder. Can you give me the number of Attorney Vulva?

  • Hugh-Bo Mont
    November 3, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Ten or fifteen years from now they’ll be playing flag football in HS.

  • Legalize Rape
    November 3, 2018 at 11:02 am

    I had a football coach that called me a faggot, spit on me, beat me, and raped me. AND IT MADE ME A BETTER PERSON! This guy deserves a RAISE!

    • And?
      November 3, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      Did this really happen or is it a metaphor for the pussification of America? I read the T&G article before I saw this blog and even with their slant it seemed like they were outing those five parents as causing problems when none would otherwise exist.

    • Your straight uncle Tim
      November 5, 2018 at 11:38 am

      That wasn’t a coach, that was your creepy uncle Richard, the NAMBLA member and Elizabeth Warren supporter.

      Looks like the roofie he slipped in your Sunny D worked.

  • Jack Flash
    November 3, 2018 at 9:21 am

    Sadly it’s what our society is coming to. But there are bad coaches out there and this isn’t one of them. Football takes the brunt of the PC punishment because it’s a top sport and they can target it so easily due to its violent nature and popularity. Next up is hockey and wrestling and not to be outdone, coming soon, those basketball elbows and lacrosse sticks. Lol

  • god
    November 3, 2018 at 2:45 am

    I was Shepherd Hill student athlete and Coach Lindstrom never treated me with anything other than respect. There is absolutely no way he would allow his son to EVER treat players anything outside the scope he considered acceptable. This sounds like an attempt by a parent to have a coach abdicate because their progeny wasn’t given playing time.

  • John
    November 3, 2018 at 1:20 am

    Having your pitchers throwing 80 plus at me without a glove or hands gave them trust me to throw garbage pitches with 2 strikes and I’d block it to throw em out. These kids suck

    • Y
      November 3, 2018 at 2:31 am

      We practiced fielding ground balls with lacrosse balls in the gym during spring training (the field was still frozen/wet), and I took a ground ball straight to the nuts (lax balls skipped every other bounce).
      My coach told me to take a leak/piss to make sure I wasn’t pissing blood; once confirmed, he told me to toughen the fuck up and get back out there.
      I went back out there, and I didn’t miss another ball for the rest of the season.
      Lesson learned…the hard way.

  • John
    November 3, 2018 at 1:18 am

    When i was a freshman in hs our coach made us do 5-10-15 etc sprints across the whole football field.. In my catchers equipment.. I loved the challenge… He also duct tape my arms behind my back and had the kids who threw hardest chuck balls at me with my gear on… I loved it!!! These kids are pussies I loved being fucking attacked and biting back saying fuck you i can handle this shit

    • god
      November 3, 2018 at 2:41 am

      i’m not one to kink shame but…

  • Fuck PC
    November 2, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    Can we all guess who Kristen Cuntasevich voted for president? Or who she is going to vote for in the state senate race? She has to be known in the parent circles as a major fucking cunt. Im not going to bore the readers of this blog with my own high school hockey stories where the coach today would be thrown in jail and labeled everything under the sun (and loved by players, students and parents), but seriously what is with this generation of parents? I can’t blame the kids because they are taught how to act by their parents. I graduated high school in the mid 90’s, I can’t recall any of the parents of kids i went to school ever voicing or showing their outright support for one political candidate other than maybe a local city election but i bet if you polled any high school sports team the players will be able to tell you who their parents and the parents of their teammates voted for. To wrap up my comment, political correctness or being a sensitive sally weakens society for all of us. Fuck you Kristen Cuntasevich

  • Ex Turtle rider
    November 2, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    I’m sorry I have to leave this blog like so many others have but there is just no funny left. How many times can I read ‘shot out of her baby cannon’?
    I’ll always check back in and I hope some of the interesting cutting edge and hilarious quality of the blog returns.
    So sad.

    • Fuck PC
      November 2, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      Hi Kristen Cuntasevich

    • Linda
      November 3, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      Buh BYE

  • Joe Mama
    November 2, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    The mother sounds like your female bloggers lately. Might want to look into the comments on here instead of facebook. With that being said, these kids clearly need toughening up! My son use to cry randomly before football in middle school when he was being LAZY. You can’t teach them that Mommy will save them from “bullies” (hypothetical bully in this case).

    • Bristol Turtlechick
      November 2, 2018 at 8:57 pm

      Fuck off, Sally. I am still perfectly capable of making you cry.

  • Carla G
    November 2, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    I aint care bout dis what I needz to no is I gotta standz outidez Barn n Noblez in a big line to get my copy of da Turtleboy book signed cuz I got 8 kidz an my boyfrend Roberto aint gonna be ne helpcuz he dont like wtchin kidz cuz he buzzy doin him thingz an i gotz to get back cuz my frend aks me to wtach her kidz for one hour.

  • Akihito
    November 2, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    7AM? We had 6AM often and that wasn’t punishment for playing poorly

  • mike
    November 2, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I played youth sports with this guy, and we were coached the same way.

    You tended to avoid getting called a pussy by the coach by not being a pussy. It’s how football works.

    Keep it up, kid.

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