Rye Basketball Coach Fired After Accusations of Theft from Backpack

Brian Lavelle’s tenure as head coach of the Rye girls’ basketball team is already over. Hired to lead the Garnets this season after Mary Henwood’s June retirement, Lavelle was let go from his position in the wake of allegations that he stole money.

Although Athletic Director Rob Castagna and Superintendent Dr. Ed Shine declined to comment on the dismissal, both cited it as a “personnel issue”, Lavelle’s lawyer confirmed the reason for his termination, which was made official at the December 7 Board of Education meeting. The attorney, Gerald DiEdwards, verified that Lavelle was accused of stealing money from a backpack, an incident the district purportedly has captured on videotape. No criminal charges have been filed as of press time.

“All I can add is that we are exploring Brian’s legal options; we’re exploring everything right now,” said DiEdwards. “He maintains his innocence, and we’ll see where it goes from here.”

“Brian is obviously devastated,” DiEdwards went on. “He’s never been arrested or charged with anything in his life. He has no criminal record and obviously no convictions.”

Lavelle was entering his 30th year of coaching basketball. He previously worked as the JV girls’ coach at Scarsdale High School. Michael Menna, the Athletic Director at Scarsdale, called the situation “unfortunate”, but said it would be inappropriate to comment further.

“Rob Castagna did reference checks and nothing of concern came up,” Dr. Shine noted when asked if the school noticed any red flags in Lavelle’s past during the hiring process.

Lavelle was hired solely as an extra pay for extra work employee by Rye; he was not a teacher.

The Garnets were forced to postpone their season-opening basketball game December 6 because of the situation, and will now make their debut December 11 at a White Plains tournament dubbed “Queens of the Court”. Henwood, originally scheduled to be honored at the event, is now back at Rye’s helm as interim head coach for a 25th consecutive year. She boasts 308 career victories, and takes over a veteran team set on a run to the County Center.

Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. against the host Tigers.

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One Response to “Rye Basketball Coach Fired After Accusations of Theft from Backpack”

  1. Denno Says:

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