New Castle News

Wilmington

March 20, 2012

Wilmington Schools: Baseball league gets OK to use fields

NEW CASTLE — The Wilmington Area youth baseball league will have access to school fields this spring.

A former coach of midget football and youth baseball in the district had failed to get permission to use school property for both leagues’ games last year and this year.

But Monday night the board agreed to allow it, despite the coach’s criminal record.

At issue was Sean T. McConahy Sr.’s assault arrest in June.

District superintendent Dr. C. Joyce Nicksick asked McConahy, 37, of Volant, to resign as midget football coach, which he did.

Several charges against McConahy, including a felony, were pleaded to a misdemeanor simple assault with a sentence of two years probation, but that wasn’t enough for Nicksick to turn the other cheek.

She denied McConahy’s request to use the facilities for the football league, at the recommendation of district solicitor Charles Mansell, because of potential liability issues.

After discussion last fall by the board members with no resolution, Nicksick said she had denied McConahy, the baseball association’s president, permission to use the property for youth baseball.

“We bickered about this for close to a year,” she said Monday night. “We had no resolution on it and it’s time to resolve it. I need for you to understand that I represent every child in this district, not just the ones who play football or baseball for Coach McConahy.

“My decision to deny this was to get it to the table so we could resolve this.”

McConahy, several league members and parents showed up Monday night. They pleaded with the board to allow the facilities’ use and supported McConahy.

After discussion about facilities use policy — that sparked a flare-up of anger and cross words between president Nancy Bretz and member Robert Curry — the board voted 6-1 to allow the baseball league to use the fields.

Voting yes were Peggy Foht, Lynn Foltz, Carol Shaw Harris, Kathleen Riley, Dr. David Swerdlow and William Taylor. Bretz voted no and Curry abstained. Dr. Bo DiMuccio was absent.

McConahy, who teaches high school science in Ellwood City, was charged by New Wilmington police June 9. They said he got out of a vehicle and assaulted a man on a motorcycle. The cyclist told police McConahy had punched him in the face and he fell to the ground, then McConahy punched him and kicked him.

Ray Liskowski of Old Pulaski Road said he met McConahy four years ago and called him a “standup gentleman.”

He said his children know McConahy from church, and, “If these kids go and pray with this guy, the can go and play with this guy.”

James Hunt of Volant said he has seen McConahy make a difference in kids’ lives as their coach and he has a positive impact.

“Sean is a great coach,” Matt Book of Route 956 said. “You’re taking a lot away from these kids.”

Billy Ray Moore, another parent, said McConahy is “doing a wonderful job. He’s a great guy and he’s tremendous with the kids. My kids look up to him.”

(Email: dmorris@ncnewonline.com)

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