John Mayo abruptly resigns coaching positions in Belchertown
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.