I opened my email early Wednesday morning, and the second item I read: “Pat, a great coach was suspended for the rest of the season! Greene supports coach Paske.” I scrubbed out the corners of my eyes and murmured to no one in particular, “huh, say what?” I thought I was still dreaming.
Among Chenango County’s current coaching brethren, Paske is at the top of the list in terms of integrity, honesty, and success. A Facebook page was created late Tuesday evening in support of Paske, and through this morning had well over 800 likes. For a small community such as Greene, that is saying something. Shock waves reverberated around the area, with most people who know Paske expressing disbelief at the school’s decision. “Wow…I am shocked to hear this,” said Norwich varsity football coach John Martinson. “I’ve developed a good rapport with Tim.” Said Oxford’s coach Ray Dayton: “Everything that Tim does is first class. He’s built a great program down there, and he’s someone I look to for advice all the time.”
From a sportswriter’s perspective, Tim is the model by which all football coaches should be judged. He gives of his time freely, and has consistently gone out of his way to provide me with whatever information I need. His suspension on Tuesday precipitated a special Greene Board of Education meeting Wednesday evening. Dozens of supporters attended with one speaker after another endorsing their football coach. No decision was made by the board of education following the meeting, so by default, Paske is not where he should be: coaching on the sidelines.
I spoke to Tim late Thursday afternoon, and he was unable to comment on the status of his suspension, but was indeed touched by the sentiments of the Greene community. “My family and I are overwhelmed and humbled,” Paske said, “…that the community has shown so much support.”
It is widely speculated that Paske was disciplined after his team did not participate in last Friday’s homecoming parade. I ask you, how many varsity football teams are out marching in a parade a couple of hours before a game? And why would they? The parade leads toward the football field where the football team is the feature attraction. Not to mention, football teams begin their pregame preparation and focus at least a couple of hours before kickoff.
Is there more to this story? If there is, no one in a position of power is able to comment on it. In the meantime, the Greene football team, one that Paske built from the ground up, will suffer from his absence.
Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat