Two more varsity boys basketball positions became available this week.
In an email, Gary Barcher said he would not be rehired after 16 seasons at Bloomfield. Barcher led the Warhawks to nine appearances in the CIAC state semifinals, including the last four years.
And first reported by Greg Lederer of the Cheshire Herald on Twitter, Dan Lee will will be stepping down at Cheshire to become an assistant principal.
Barcher remains, angry and bitter over being fired when he was reached for comment Thursday.
“The three reasons they gave me were parental pressure, student-athlete concerns and No. 3, they wanted someone in the system,” Barcher said.
Barcher, 57, retired after last school year after teaching business at Bloomfield for 35 years. He was the JV boys basketball coach for the Warhawks from 1980-89, then git his first varsity job at South Windsor before coming to Bloomfield in 2000.
Bloomfield also won two state championships (Class L in 2002, Class S in 2008) and added a pair of trips to the Class M finals in 2009 and 2010. Barcher, a New England Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, finishes with a 265-142 record at Bloomfield. He has a 368-310 record in 31 years as a head coach.
And it appears Barcher is done coaching the sport.
“I’m never coaching anywhere else,” Barcher said. “If I don’t coach at Bloomfield, I’m not coaching anywhere. Bloomfield is a place I love, it’s like my family. I don’t care about any place else.”
Barcher said he met with Bloomfield principal Dan Moleti and athletic director Tammy Schondelmayer on Tuesday afternoon. Barcher said Schondelmayer “asked me to resign or retire a dozen times about two weeks ago. Never in a million years would I do that.”
So he was fired in that meeting after refusing to resign or retire again. Schondelmayer returned an email saying she is “not at liberty to discuss personnel issues.” She referred comment to Stan Simpson, the director of strategic communications and planning for the town. Simpson referred comment to William Joselyn, the human resources specialist for the Bloomfield Public Schools, who emailed the following statement.
“It is premature at this time to comment on the employment status of Bloomfield High School Basketball Coach Gary Barcher. Contracts of our coaches are renewed on an annual basis. Mr. Barcher’s contract is still under review. As this is a personnel matter, the school district will have no further comment.”
Barcher points out he is still currently the boys golf coach, but will stop coaching that sport after the season – assuming he doesn’t get his job back.
“There are five or six coaches (at Bloomfield who aren’t in the school system),” Barcher said.
Barcher said he felt the decision came from the town’s board of education. He plans to fight the decision, as is his right, at next month’s meeting.
Lee will leave both of his coaching positions at Cheshire – boys basketball and golf – to become an assistant principal at the school beginning next fall.
Lee, 47 is currently a physical education teacher.
“It’s a decision I anguished over,” Lee said. “I got my first job coaching at age 19 (as an assistant at Goodwin Tech) and I’ve been coaching ever since, 28 years. But opportunities only present themselves so often and sometimes not on your timetable.”
The appointment is expected to become official Thursday night.
Lee coached the Rams basketball team for 10 seasons after serving as an assistant for six under longtime coach Nick Carparelli. He went 107-105, which included back-to-back undefeated seasons in the SCC Housatonic Division in 2013-14 and 2014-15, then tying Amity for the top spot this past season.
That record also included going head to head against the SCCs top teams year in and year out – sometimes twice a season.
“I’ve been proud to coach at Cheshire and equally as proud to coach in the SCC,” Lee said. “Our schedule was demanding the last four or five years. I always looked at it more as an opportunity to do something great. The SCC has some of the better coaches in the state, not only for their coaching prowess but also because they are great people.”
Lee said he completed his sixth year administrative degree a couple of years ago.
“I was fortunate enough to get the job,” Lee said. “Once you tell the teams (of the decision), you realize one chapter comes to an end and another starts. I may not be on the sideline, but I won’t be that far from Cheshire High basketball or Cheshire high sports.”
Lee “hopes there will be interest within the school and within the coaching staff” to replace him. He declined to be specific on who those candidates might be.