Charlie Cornacchio

Charlie Cornacchio

News Anchor

FREEDOM PLAINS, NY – It’s been 12 days since the firing of one of the most successful coaches in Arlington girls soccer history, and while it may seem quiet since the frenzy after the story broke here on HVNN.com, there are still plenty of unanswered questions and behind the scenes activity in what appears to be a case of bullying. The biggest question might be “who” is being bullied?

Long time Arlington girl’s soccer coach, Kieran McIlvenny was called into the Athletic Director’s office on the Friday before the Christmas break and told by Dr. Brendan Lyons, the District Superintendent, that they were “going separate ways”. Just like that, McIlvenney was fired, after ten years as Arlington girls head soccer coach.

Shocking words for the coach to hear after McIlvenny’s team had just won a Sectional title this past season, and a Class AA New York State title the year before. Not to mention his other positive recognitions and successes throughout the soccer community. The sudden firing came to a complete surprise to McIlvenney as the Athletic Director was in contact with McIlvenney to discuss budget and plans for next season just before his December 22nd termination.

According to multiple sources, this ending had been brewing for more than two years and centered around a group of parents, disgruntled about playing time and post season accolades.

At the end of this past soccer season, and after Coach McIlvenney was given high marks on the enclosed Arlington High School Evaluation, ACSD officials held a meeting with a select group of players and parents. The cause for the meeting was to discuss charges of bullying by McIlvenney.

No one seems to be able to answer why the entire team was not involved or questioned to validate these claims. McIlvenney was never advised that the meeting was occurring, nor was he offered an opportunity to respond to the charges that came out of that meeting.

In reaching out to Dr. Lyons, HVNN was told that this is a personal matter and comment cannot be made at this time, however, Dr, Lyons did respond to a request for clarification regarding the meeting with players and parents saying, ” I can tell you that there was no singular “group” meeting with parents or students. Any meetings which occurred were with individual student-athletes and/or individual parents.”

None of the assistant coaches, nor the rest of the players on the team, including team captain and All American, Molly Feighan were interviewed about the accusations of bullying that came out of those meetings.

According to McIlvenney’s attorney Jeff Feldman, of Feldman, Kleidman, Coffey, Sappe & Regenbaum, “This is the clearest case of parental bullying with disastrous consequences to the School and its future players and coaches that I have ever seen. Coach McIlvenny has a stellar record as a mentor, teacher, coach and member of the community at large. At the end of this soccer season he received an outstanding review from the AHS AD.”

AHS Evaluation FormMcIlvenney did receive an Excellent Rating in 31 out of 33 items on the post season evaluation form in the categories of Communication Skills, Organizational Skills, Sportsmanship, and Coaching Skills, administered by Arlington Athletic Director Michael Cring. Not one Unsatisfactory rating was given. In the category of Sportsmanship, McIlvenney received the highest marks allowed for, setting a positive example for athletes on how to conduct themselves on and off the field, and stressing the values and life lessons learned from the game.

Conversely, after the firing was made public, a parent who attended the selective meetings with parents and athletes put on his Facebook page, a reference to McIlvenney’s firing with a post that read, “Best Christmas present ever.”

More to come…

(Click on image for full two-page evaluation form)

14
Comments
  1. Jimmy Cancellaro

    I am finding this dismissal hard to believe. I have known Kieran for many years, having coached along side of him in the East Hudson Youth Soccer League Select Program. Being a high school soccer coach myself I haven’t seen too many seasons where someone wasn’t happy with their playing time. I don’t know much about this situation since I was just made aware of it but if playing time was a deciding factor in this dismissal, that is totally unacceptable. From my personal experience, Kieran has always been a competent, qualified and compassionate coach. I would have been happy to have had Kieran coach any one of my four former soccer playing children.

    • Kieran McIlvenny is a wonderful human being who has devoted his entire adult life to coaching youth soccer. As a parent of four soccer playing children, who are now all in their 20’s, the eldest played at Boston College, all four played four years at Somers High School. My children were exposed to Kieran as a Select Coach with the EHYSL and later as an ODP coach. The love of the game and of the children he coached was palpable in Kieran’s heart, his knowledge of the game and of teaching principles which could be heard when he instructed his players. Kieran was respectful and empathetic to parents and fans alike. Our teams competed at the highest level, and because of Kieran, I held LaGrange Soccer in the highest regard. Epic matches between our travel teams and then our High School’s are bright memories of well coached children playing at their highest potential and ending with warm embraces and appreciation of each others teams and effort, regardless of who emerged with the victory. Kieran dressing up for every Halloween without concern that parents or other coaches might think less of him, concerning himself with the joy and squeals of delight from the children. I would walk in to any court or administrative hearing at any time on any day, to testify on Kieran’s behalf, and to undo this travesty of justice caused by unhappy trouble makers who ruin youth sports with their underhanded political methods that threaten to destroy High School sports, as they are nothing more then educated hooligans!

      Cesar Callan

  2. Eric Yapi Cielenou

    This is simply unbelievable!
    I have known Kieran for more than three (3) years, it is the most calm and pleasant person I have seen. How is this possible!?
    Kieran is a man of great heart, we are both involved in charitable projects to help disadvantaged young athletes in Africa. He supports my foundation by providing sport equipment that benefits young soccer players in Cameroon.
    Kieran is the Director of Coaching of the Olympic Development Program (ODP) on the girls side, I’m enjoying working alongside of him. He is so understanding, caring, and compassionate. He has never raised his voice nor pressure anyone around me.
    I can say this without mistake that Kieran is the most inoffensive man I ever seen in my live.
    What a shameful situation that is being through !!!

  3. Arlington Central School District should be ashamed of themselves!
    Division 1 youth players as from age 12 do not have a guaranteed amount of playing time.
    Mr. McIlvenny is a certified USSF A level coach, and a seasoned professional in every way.
    I am glad to call him my friend.

  4. My friend and mentor.

    I have coached girl’s soccer for Arlington for the past 12 years, 5 of which were directly alongside Kieran at Arlington High School. When he took over the program he immediately became my friend and coaching mentor. From him I gained a knowledge base and perspective of the game and coaching that has benefited me greatly in the years since. He is a mild mannered man with an enormous heart and passion for the game and his players. His honest and direct style of communication is presented softly and from a place of compassion and purpose. NEVER, did I question his integrity, character, or see him, even remotely, as a bully-coach. Keiran exemplifies what it means to be a professional and has proven himself to be an integral part of the Arlington community.

  5. I coached against Kiernan at the HS level and worked together as coaching instructors. I have observed him coaching, in particular at a sectional final, and used him as reference in a coaching course. Calm, composed and thoughtful on the sidelines, qualities lacking in youth & HS soccer.

    If this report is true, it highlights one of the main cancers that hinders the growth and development in youth sports. People whose motives centers around personal gains at all costs. Many have little or no knowledge of player development, coaching and respecting the game, but with their resources they can influence decision makers.

    Kieran is a professional, there are very few coaches with his qualities on our fields.

  6. MaryBeth Gallagher

    I am writing from the other side of the world, Windhoek Namibia, where Kieran has come to coach our National Women’s Team in Soccer as well as delivering a container filled with THOUSANDS of soccer uniforms that were collected from the charity he founded, Kickin’ Back. Kieran is not only known on a National Level for his high standard of morals and ethics, but he is known INTERNATIONALLY for his outpouring of love and generosity to develop soccer WORLD-WIDE. He is not only an outstanding Coach and Mentor, but a man of the highest level of integrity. This act of dismissal is an atrocity and I know that EVERYONE will agree with me that we must do EVERYTHING within our power to reinstate him as Coach as well as to publicly denounce the cowards who did this.

  7. “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
    ― John Wooden
    This is one of my favorite sayings from a great coach and a greater teacher of life. In my experience as former President of LaGrange Soccer Club, Kieran McIlvenny exemplifies this quote. I am proud to have had him as a coaching mentor and as a friend. It is amazing to me that Arlington Central School District took this course of action.
    “Haters will always hate”. But those that know the person that Kieran is will be there to support.

  8. I’m still is shock about this news. I think whatever has happened here needs to be seen in the full light of day, regardless of who is effected. This situation needs full transparency for the coach, players, parents and community. Is there a defense fund being set up? I’m ready to contribute.

    • Ross
      There is no need for a defense fund. What has been done to Kieran is so outrageous that my firm is handling this at no charge to Kieran.
      Best regards
      Jeff

      • Good for you and your firm Jeff, this is such a ridiculous travesty. It was great seeing you at the EHYSL Hall of Fame dinner. Who was it that got inducted? Oh, I remember, It was Kieran McIlvenny, imagine that!

        Best regards,

        Chic

  9. NESTOR H FERNANDEZ

    From my personal experience, Kieran has always been a competent, qualified and compassionate coach. My two sons were coached
    by Kieran for several years during the summer and during the winter for the Wappingers United Soccer Club. He was always very polite,
    a super human being and I always admired his quality of self control . Parents are never satisfied with the amount of playing time.
    Period. It is a shame for the Arlington Central School District to have dismissed him. They should undo this travesty IMMEDIATELY. SHAME ON YOU Arlington Central School District.

  10. Siobhan McLaughlin

    I have had the pleasure of knowing Kieran all my life as he is my big brother !! There was eleven of us and an extra one my mum took under her wing. He left us many years ago to make a better life for himself and family in America. He has always been a very generous and devoted family man to his siblings and late parents Molly and Charlie who were so proud of him I know I’m biased but I think America is lucky to have him. Kieran has devoted his life to soccer and played since he could walk in the back streets of Belfast whilst the so called troubles were going. He crossed the divide organising football matches getting young people from both religions to mix together, he held no prejudices to any persons.He is a great mentor for young people and has a lot of time and patience when in their company. He has done so well for a wee boy from the back streets of Belfast It’s very sad for us to see him being treated like this and I wish we were there to support him. It gives us comfort to read all the positive posts and support he is receiving from people who know him well. Justice will prevail and the truth will come out. I know a lot of this personal stuff has nothing to do with what happened but I want people to know the real Kieran our brother. We love you and we’ve got your back

  11. This is sad and shameful. Sad that Kieran is being treated as such, for all he does for the local soccer community. But, also, what he does as a humanitarian. He has affected so many players and coaches in a positive way. He is needed for his philosophy of development since children’s sports is at a cross roads. Thankfully, he is involved in other programs. Shameful for the Arlington Administration! The lack of disrespect for a quality coach and teacher who has given so much for 10 years, which is virtually volunteer work. The negligence in the due process and lack of transparency, there’s been more questions than answers. Arlington administration is creating a narcissistic environment by giving into a few select parents who have been on a witch hunt. What message are you sending to the community, parents and current & future coaches?

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