The unexpected ousting of a Hall of Fame high school coach and athletic director has an area community up in arms with outrage.
On Monday, July 1, the North Salem Board of Education announced that longtime coach Henry Sassone, who has been a fixture in the district for nearly four decades, will not be returning to his posts next season.
Sassone, who has led the boys basketball team to more than 400 wins and also serves as the district’s athletic director, was told last month that he will not be re-appointed to his positions. When the news was made public this week, the community cried out with rage, including several of his former players.
According to reports, district officials stated that Sassone did not have the administrative certification needed to be an athletic director.
The school has already posted a job opening for a temporary director of physical education and athletics, and no explanation has been provided by the district for the unexpected ousting of Sassone.
During Monday’s meeting, dozens of former players spoke on his behalf, asking for answers about their former coach, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year.
In 35 years, Sassone has totaled 414 wins, including nine league championships and four sectional championships. He was a former president of the Lower Hudson Valley Basketball Coaches Association and Section 1 Conference Chair. He’s also been named Coach of the Year on several occasions.
In a prepared statement on Monday following the meeting, Sassone said, “there’s a lot of work to be done yet here at North Salem. We have some problems. We need athletic fields, we need additional transportation, we’re having a difficult time finding coaches. In today’s world, it’s tough to retain coaches. The atmosphere is very difficult.”
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