Video of post-game altercation was planned for Franklin School Board meeting
Greg Husband, of Franklin, N.H., the coach of the New Hampshire team, is seen during a practice session for the Shrine Bowl 2009 at the Kimball Union Academy football field in Meriden, N.H., on Friday, July 24, 2009.
Valley News - Jakob M. Berr
The father of a member of Franklin High School’s football team had hoped to show a DVD at last night’s school board meeting that he said would prove that a post-game incident of unsportsmanlike conduct by Franklin after its win in the state championship game had been overblown by the state’s governing body of athletics, leading to the unjustified firing of the team’s coach, Greg Husband.
But the portion of the meeting reserved for citizens to address the board, pushed to the end by an earlier vote to allow more time for discussion on the issue, had not started by press time, and it was not clear last night if the father, Charles Carey, had been allowed to show the DVD to the board.
The Monitor, however, obtained a copy, which shows a Franklin player saying something to a Mascoma Regional Valley coach during the post-game lineup at midfield, where teams traditionally shake hands and represent good sportsmanship.
Husband and others in the community admit that the player, Franklin’s No. 15, said, “Who’s laughing now,” following a 42-22 win over Mascoma last November in the Division VI title game.
The player then breaks free from his handshake and trots off, at which time coaches separate the players, trying to lead them in opposite directions on the field.
The player’s words were in reference to a newspaper headline written after Mascoma had beaten Franklin in the opening game of the season. After the incident at the second game, Mascoma Coach Ray Kershaw filed a complaint with the NHIAA, accusing Franklin of using profanity directed at his team.
After an investigation by the NHIAA’s sportsmanship committee, a letter from the executive director, Pat Corbin, was sent to both schools in March, reading, in part: “In conclusion, although there was no clear evidence to prove the use of profanity by the Franklin players, their behavior and the taunting, using the aforementioned newspaper headline, was seen by the sportsmanship committee to be inappropriate and not well handled by the Franklin coaching staff.
“They also instructed me to inform Franklin that their programs will be under careful scrutiny in the coming years and that any sportsmanship infractions, even minor instances, will lead to sanctions against the Franklin football program and potentially the entire athletic program.”
Then, following a school board meeting in April that included a closed session that was later sealed for 50 years, the board relieved Husband of his duties, after nine years as head coach and two state championships.
Husband, Carey and others claim the video fails to prove Mascoma’s claim about Franklin’s heated role in the incident, adding that the NHIAA refused to view the video during its investigation.
The issue, Husband said, dates back further than the championship game and in actuality has little to do with what happened that day.
Husband believes the report by the NHIAA was used by Franklin School Superintendent Maureen Ward and the school board as an excuse to fire him, accusing Ward of supporting Husband’s then-wife after Husband left her. Husband claimed his wife was a close friend of Ward’s.
Husband, citing other issues he had had with Ward, including her insinuations that Husband had embezzled money from the football program, tried to profit from the resale of football cards and permitted unauthorized personnel to attend football camp in August, filed a harassment complaint last summer with the school administrative unit – three months before the state football championship.
Husband said last night his complaint was cast aside without a proper investigation.
“There were a plethora of things that happened, insinuations,” Husband said in an interview two weeks ago. “I never had a negative evaluation at Franklin High before last June.”
Last night’s school board meeting was a regularly scheduled one. While the public was welcome and expected to voice their displeasure with Husband’s firing, legal policy prevented school board members or anyone else from discussing personnel matters, meaning there was no chance that Husband would have been reinstated at the meeting.
His assistant, Jeff Kaplan, was named head coach earlier this month.
Husband sat in the second row during the meeting, which featured recognition of teachers and students, information about school trips and budget concerns, with school board Vice Chairman Ed Cogan arguing that cuts to the athletic department should come before anymore teachers are let go.
Members of the Franklin football team, past and present, sat near the back and leaned against the side wall, with some wearing their state title T-shirts in support of their former coach.
Correction: A previous headline for this article misstated which school board held the meeting. It was the Franklin School Board.