CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. A packed house of past and present Horace Greeley High School football players took to the podium at Tuesday night's board of education meeting to protest the possible suspension of their coach Bill Tribou.
"Coach Tribou is not, as his title would imply, merely a coach. He is both the architect and foundation of the Horace Greeley football program," said player Jamie Nottingham. "Every moment spent without our leader guiding and supervising us jeopardizes our season, and for some of us looking to play at the next level, our futures."
Chappaqua Central School District officials and board members continued to offer no details surrounding Tribou's undisclosed and indefinite absence due to legal circumstances and no timetable was given for a possible return. He has been absent from the school for approximately two weeks, officials said.
Throughout the evening, parent after parent, and student after student spoke on behalf of the coach and teacher who has been at Greeley for nearly two decades. Each personal anecdote shared about Tribou was met with a roomful of applause, including from several board members who were not able to speak on the issue.
"It's not often that I feel comfortable enough to approach a teacher and confide in them various types of issues, but Mr. Tribou makes that possible," said junior Lindsay Hill. "I can honestly say that without him as a figurehead in my life, I wouldn't be standing where I am today with the courage to come up here and speak on his behalf."
As the night continued, frustration grew among some in attendance about being kept in the dark regarding Tribou's absence, leaving community members only to speculate.
"I also don't know what happened. I know that Bill is salty. He's a character and there's no parent that's had the pleasure of being around him for some time that hasn't seen those elements," said parent Greg Kiernan. "But I also know that he's special and loving and caring about our children all of them."
Superintendent Lyn McKay and board members could only respond to community members by reiterating the district's position about Tribou's absence being a legal matter they cannot discuss in order to protect the coach's privacy. Board President Alyson Kiesel said whatever the next step may be, the public will be notified and, if needed, a special public hearing could be scheduled to discuss the issue further.
"We can sit here and us not say anything and you yell at us all night. It's not going to be positive," said board member Randy Katchis. "What I can applaud is that, as always, people in this community, when they feel that something needs to be said, say it. And that's important. For all the young guys who did that so eloquently, you should be proud of yourselves. Not every young man stands up for what's right."
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