MVRHS suspends girls lax coaches

On the eve of state playoffs, two coaches pushed to sidelines

Kurstin Moore, shown here at a school committee meeting, was suspended Tuesday for violating school attendance rules.

Updated June 5

As state lacrosse playoffs begin this week, the Vineyarder girls lacrosse varsity head coach Kurstin Moore and assistant head coach Bob Hayman were suspended Tuesday morning for violations of school policy regarding school attendance and practice policies.

The action followed an internal investigation over the past week, according to Mark McCarthy, athletic director of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. He said junior varsity coaches Jenny Hart and Jo Douglas have agreed to coach the team, which begins state tournament play on Thursday at home as the number one seed in the South Sectional division. A call to Hart on Tuesday afternoon went to voicemail.

McCarthy initially told The Times the coaches were terminated, but clarified on Wednesday that they were suspended. “I’m sorry if I misspoke in any way but the coaches have been suspended, not terminated,” he said Wednesday. “We’ll decide what to do going forward after the immediate situation has been dealt with.”

McCarthy said he had spoken with Hayman earlier in the day Tuesday, but not with Moore who was in hospital giving birth to her second daughter.  

Reached by phone at home Tuesday afternoon, Hayman said, “I’m not ready to make a public statement right now. I spoke with Kurstin earlier (Tuesday) and obviously she’s got other things on her mind right now.”

McCarthy spoke with the team Tuesday morning. “The kids were aware of the investigation. We want them to focus on the playoffs and have the best tournament  experience they can,” he said.

Hayman said he also spoke with the team. “I told them they had earned the number-one seed and they should play the Vineyard way. I hope they do well,” he said.

Meanwhile, some players have also faced discipline and may be on the sidelines for the postseason. The Times asked principal Sara Dingledy about an alcohol-related incident involving Senior Skip Day.

We did investigate an MIAA infraction and determined outcomes this week. I don’t feel it is appropriate for the school to comment beyond that,” Dingledy wrote in an email. “Consequences for an MIAA infraction are not tied to the ability to participate in graduation.”

McCarthy declined to comment on the situation involving the players. “I can neither confirm nor deny that. The nature of your question would involve school discipline issues and, therefore is not something I can publicly divulge.”

The 17-1 Vineyarders earned a first-round bye. Their opponent for Thursday at 4 pm at MVRHS has not been announced.

While details are thin at present on the precise reasons behind the suspensions, the MVRHS Athletics Handbook does note in bold type: “If a student is absent for any part of a school day, the student may not par­ticipate in a practice, team event or game on that day. Exceptions to this rule may only be made by the athletic director on an individual basis.”

Asked if that policy was in play for the suspensions, McCarthy said, “I would say that is the gist of the issue at hand, along with other things. A lot of this issue has to do with confidential personnel issues. I can’t confirm what you’re asking.”

As for the players, MIAA rules are clear. Students confirmed to be in violation would miss 25 percent of all interscholastic contests in that sport. For the players involved, that would be through the end of the season.

“During the suspension the disqualified student may not be in uniform and his/her attendance at the competition site is determined by the high school principal,” the policy states.

Story updated to correct the status of the coaches and with information about students also facing discipline.