Saying only that it wants to head in another direction, but offering no
explanation as to the reason or timing, the administration at Wadsworth
High School will not renew the supplemental coaching contract of head
boys basketball coach Scott Callaghan.
“The only thing I can tell you is, there was a decision to go in a
different direction,” principal Joe Magnacca said via phone Tuesday afternoon.
Principal Joe Magnacca and athletic director Rich Berlin, both in their first year in the district, confirmed the decision along with associate principal Steve Moore, whom Berlin replaced as athletic director prior to this season. The trio all used a near uniform line when discussing the decision.
“The only thing I can tell you is, there was a decision to go in a different direction,” Magnacca said via phone on Tuesday afternoon.
Callaghan said he was called to meet with the three men in the athletic department last Friday afternoon. He was informed at that time, in a meeting he said lasted five minutes, that his contract would not be renewed.
Callaghan said he was offered the chance to resign, but was blunt when discussing that option.
“I’m not resigning,” he said, adding that he was both extremely surprised and disappointed.
Callaghan, 39, was head coach for two seasons. His teams compiled an overall record of 21-26, but were a combined 5-2 in the postseason tournament, reaching the Copley Division I District tournament each year. The back-to-back district appearances were a rarity at Wadsworth.
The dismissal is the latest in a spate of basketball coaching changes at the school, with Callaghan involved in all of them.
He formerly coached Wadsworth’s powerful girls program for five years. He led that team to a 100-15 record, but left following the 2004-05 season amidst a whirlwind of controversy.
After one year off, Callaghan was hired to replace former boys coach John Martin, who left after a similar period of tumult. In each case, parental influence was thought to be a prime factor in driving the coaching changes.
Martin, a coach and teacher in Wadsworth for three decades, said in a recent interview he still can’t step in the Wadsworth gymnasium. Callaghan wasn’t sure that would be the case with him.
“I’m going to pray that I act with integrity and that bitterness in no way consumes me,” he said. “That would not be setting the example I want to set. Will I be able to go back in the gym, in a basketball setting? I think it would be selfish if I did. … I’ve been told that’s not my place anymore. Unless I’m on the other bench, I don’t think so.”
When Callaghan left the girls team, the roster was well-stocked. In 2005-06, first-year coach Andrew Booth led the Grizzlies to the Division I final four, coaching a team that had two future Division I and two Division II college signees.
A similar situation exists with the boys team, though not at the same level. In current juniors Chad Baughman and Alan Sheppard, and sophomore Anthony Schrock, the Grizzlies return their three best players and arguably three of the top players in the Suburban League.
“Who ever is blessed with this position next year is going to be blessed with, No. 1, great kids, who represent Wadsworth with dignity,” Callaghan said. “And, No. 2, they play hard.”
Neither Magnacca, Berlin nor Moore said what the plan was for moving forward. Both Magnacca, formerly principal at Rittman High School, and Berlin, former AD and assistant principal at Doylestown Chippewa, have ties to nearby Wayne County. There’s a chance they could look in that direction for a replacement.