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John Mayo abruptly resigns coaching positions in Belchertown

John Mayo, who coached baseball and football at Belchertown, resigned from both positions Friday.

John Mayo, who coached baseball and football at Belchertown, resigned from both positions Friday. Purchase photo reprints »

A high school coaching career spanning more than three decades has apparently ended in Belchertown after a single afternoon.

Belchertown baseball and football coach John Mayo has resigned from both jobs in the aftermath of an altercation with a player’s father at a practice on April 28.

In an email Mayo sent to athletic director R.J. Marchewka later that evening, he alleged the father charged onto the field swearing at the coach and challenged him to a fight.

Mayo claimed Belchertown principal Christine Vigneux and Marchewka agreed the parent should be banned from practices and games, but Mayo said superintendent of schools Judith Houle did not feel barring the father would be the proper move.

As a result, Mayo resigned last Friday.

“The principal and athletic director tried to change my mind, and I think they would have liked for me to continue,” Mayo said. “But they both understood my position on this. I’ve coached the past 33 years and never experienced anything like this.”

Marchewka declined to comment.

Mayo began as the Orioles football coach in 2008 and led the program to three straight postseason appearances. This was his first season as the baseball coach.

“The support I’ve been getting for five straight days is amazing,” Mayo said. “I’ve been getting emails from current and former players, parents, other coaches. To me, this was a no-brainer situation. I want to make clear that our principal and athletic director have been great. I’ve really enjoyed my five years working at Belchertown.”

According to Mayo, the issue apparently started when a player missed practice before a game on April 23 and Mayo subsequently benched him. Mayo said he received an email from the father saying he did not think his son should be punished because the game was rescheduled from a previous date.

“Any time you take up a program, you’re going to do things differently, and I guess he didn’t like the way I did my job,” Mayo said. “It seemed like he wanted a Little League coach, and I’m not a Little League coach. He didn’t like that I had demands and standards.”

According to Mayo, Marchewka interviewed every player except the one in question, and the coach was told that all 13 players backed up his story.

“I feel bad for the kids. I’ve worked with a ton of great kids at all my schools,” Mayo said. “We have a lot of good, supportive parents in both the baseball and football programs, and there are people who cause problems in every town.”

When asked whether he might reconsider prior to the fall football season, Mayo all but slammed the door on his time at Belchertown.

“I’m about 99.9 percent sure I won’t be interested in coaching at the high school level again,” he said. “You never say never, but at this point I’ve thought a lot about it after 10 days. Right now, I don’t see why I should reconsider. It’s difficult to walk away, but maybe it’s time to walk away after 33 years. But this wasn’t what I planned.”

Michael Wilkinson can be reached at mwilkinson@gazettenet.com.

I've known John Mayo for almost 20 years and he is a man of his word. He has worked very hard at all of his coaching stops and truly cares about kids and doing things the "right way". If he is done with coaching and teaching, a lot of kids have lost the chance to play for and work with a terrific coach and an honorable man.

Good for you John! Team rules are pretty simple if enforced (as you have done here) whether that player was the best on your team or not he should be as accountable as every other person on that team. I don't know the parent at all, but usually a person that will go to that extreme have a history of "chirping" and "coaching from the stands". He probably has aspirations of more atheltic success for their child in college etc... The saddest part is that this guy probably doesn't realize that accepting the consequences go a lot farther to shape his child as a player/person than actually getting away with it and being allowed to play anyways....

Superintendent Houle continues to demonstrate her lack of leadership by vetoing a sensible decision by her staff without offering any constructive alternative Of her own. Add this incident to her ignoring the mood of a roomful of concerned parents last year over the BB gun incident and it is very clear to me that Belchertown has a 'disconnected' school superintendent. It's time to let her go and find someone with more management experience.

The school superintendent was very wrong. One only has to remember the referee at a youth soccer game that was hit once by a 17 yr old and died. The superintendent evidently does not feel that people need to account for their behavior, which is really sad.

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