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Haverford's Long-Time Boys' Basketball Coach Dismissed

Terry McNichol was coach of the Fords for 15 years when the Haverford School District decided on a change, says sources.

The second-annual last Friday night brought some of the best from to Cardinal O’Hara.

It also brought an underlying ripple of shock, as word spread throughout the strong coaching fraternity there that one of their own, a longtime stalwart, who holds the respect of every coach in the area was suddenly dismissed from his position after 15 years. (Editor's note: It was originally stated that Terry McNichol was the coach for 16 years. The correct number is 15.)

Haverford High School dismissed Fords’ boys basketball coach Terry McNichol, a number of sources confirmed, after meeting with Haverford School District superintendent William Keilbaugh on Friday, giving the longtime, and highly admired coach an ultimatum of either “stepping down,” according to sources, or not have his contract renewed for next season. McNichol choose to be dismissed, according to sources.

McNichol was told the program needed "a fresh start," a source, who is close to the incident and asked not to be named, told the Haverford-Havertown Patch.

"(It is a) personal issue, I will not comment," Joann Patterson, the Haverford High School's athletic director, wrote in an e-mail response to Patch's inquiries about the alleged dismissal.

William S. Keilbaugh, superintendent of schools in Haverford Township, has not returned a phone call from Patch.

The Fords finished last season 6-16 overall, but were competitive in a number of games, and McNichol was in the process of building a young team over the last two years.

Haverford School District’s refusal to renew McNichol’s contract also comes in the wake of Haverford’s longtime boys’ soccer coach, Jorge Severini, being asked for his . Severini was “asked” to leave after 22 years as the Fords’ head coach.

McNichol, whose wife Mary Beth is a highly successful coach at Notre Dame Academy, had built a solid, upstanding reputation in the area as a quality coach and also a very good teacher of basketball who was committed to his players. He never recruited, a rarity in the sometimes high-stakes world of AAU and high schools openly going after prime grade school talent.

Terry McNichol himself could not be reached for comment because he is away on a golf trip with friends in Florida, but a number of coaches there Friday night and over the weekend expressed their regret to McNichol via e-mail and through text messages.

“It’s really a shame, and from I what I understand,  it was an utter screw job,” said one coach Friday night, who asked that his name not be used for this story for the time being. “I’ve coached against Terry and have respected the guy for years. He got the best out of his players, and Haverford always played hard. Those kids may not have been the most talented, but you knew you were going to be in a game every time you played Haverford — and all of that is a credit to Terry. The guy is an old-school guy, who has great values. It’s too bad that’s not appreciated anymore.”

One other coach added, “From what I know, Haverford has a system where you’re allowed to file anonymous complaints about a coach and the school and school district takes those complaints into consideration. That’s fine. But as a coach, you should have the right to confront those comments and defend yourself. Coaches deal every year with a few delusional parents who think their kid is the next coming of Michael Jordan and their kid should have gotten more playing time. They take it out on the coach. That sounds like the case here.

“But I can tell you this, Terry McNichol is a great guy and a great coach. He won’t have a problem finding a coaching job anywhere in this area. Though you have to ask yourself this, who’s going to want to coach in the Haverford School District after they fired two really, really highly respected guys like Terry and (Severini). I have a feeling if John Wooden was coaching there, and there were may be  a few parents angry over playing time, they would have fired him, too.”

John Smith April 10, 2011 at 01:09 AM
Aron smith, great grammer kid. Maybe you should have spent more time trying to get your English teacher fired instead of your basketball coach.
Pat Morgan April 10, 2011 at 01:40 AM
No one forced me to do anything. I chose to go in front of the School Board.
miles mansell April 10, 2011 at 02:35 AM
yo so we are god awful players right. Grab ya sneakers and come see me on the basketball court cus. anyone can talk trash behind the computer screen!
Ricky Bobby April 10, 2011 at 02:43 AM
Guess what John Terry's fired so you and his other pet dogs need to deal with it. If he has another coaching job why is he still crying over the situation its obvious he cant coach.
Linda DiCarlo April 10, 2011 at 03:41 AM
Oh my, all of these comments ranting and raving. Brian Clancy-I commend you and agree with you. The most important and disturbing part of this is the unprofessional way in which this was handled. The superintendent did not attend the meeting which conveys to the community that it wasn't important to him. I thought these meetings were part of his job? This saddens me to think he had something more important to do. Brian you are correct; as part of this community we should all be upset with the unprofessional handling of the situation. Please stop arguing over the decision. We must realize the school district is entitled to make unpopular decisions but we want them to hold themselves to a higher standard than we have recently encountered.
Aron Smith April 10, 2011 at 03:58 AM
OK first John (or what ever your really name is) Shut the hell up cause one you clearly can't do anything but complain about Mcnicole's leaving you have no balls to say who you are, so just shut up if you really have a problem with him lossing his job then try complaing to the school board about it, hah oh forgot that didnt work for him doubt it will for you. IS there anything you can do but cry and moan about his leaving. No cause the fact of the matter is you know none of these kids, you know none of the facts you are just another viwer from the side lines, keep it that way because you arent playing now and aren't coaching, so this is what iv been trying to figure out if you are not playing at all what gives you the right to judge who is on this team or who should have the blame. You have nothing to do but comment on people post, he is gone get the hell over it move on find yourself a hobby , get your slef a girl, grow up and shut up . So keep your cry baby comments where they belong to yourslef. Yes there are worst coaches then Mcnicole but i can surely name a tone more who are better. Stop spit shining his shoes and let him walk away and let it go.
Brian Clancy April 10, 2011 at 04:05 AM
Because the manner in which he was "fired" was horrendous and unfair to someone who has dedicated more than u probably know to Haverford High School. Chill out, no one is mad at u, just the school board cowards
John Smith April 10, 2011 at 06:57 AM
Brian Clancy- I also commend you. For those of you who don't know, Brian's father is in the Pennslyvania state Hall of Fame for High School Football. So I think Brian knows a thing or two about how to judge a coach (certainly he knows a helluva lot more than any of the people posting on here, including myself). Brian, like myself, has played for Coach McNichol, and knows that McNichol is a very respected coach and was given a raw deal by the school district. Brian may not have gotten much playing time on the basketball court (although he was a great football player and shot-putter for the track team), but he never complained about his role and he always gave his all for his coach. If Haverford High had more kids like Brian Clancy in the basketball program, they would not have preformed as poorly as they have done recently. No Bryan Ramona, I am not Terry McNichol, go come up with some other genius theory. Ricky Bobby and Aron Smith are just as anonymous as I am, so I'm glad everybody's hoping on their case too. Oh and Miles Mansell (aka John Anderson), nice of you to change your name. I would glady "lace em up" against you and anyone else on your team. Pat Morgan, thank you for coming forward and saying that you made the decision to speak with the school board on your own. Bryan Romana seems to think he knows everything and thinks you were forced into doing this. Glad to see someone other than me is telling this guy he doesn't know sh*t about the program.
miles mansell April 10, 2011 at 03:41 PM
I changed it cus i aint got nothing to hide. Everyone needs to get with the face he is gone aint coming back. So John Smith get your sneakers and come see me cus. Keep running your mouth! See me on the Haverford basketball court.
Brian Clancy April 10, 2011 at 03:47 PM
calm down miles, your letting this get to u too much. Nobody here is against you or any of the other players, its the board that is the problem. I always thought Haverford had a certain lack of care for athletics (anyone seen the football field in November?). Now I know it for a fact.
Ricky Bobby April 10, 2011 at 04:19 PM
John Smith are ypu still running your mouth? your boyfriend Mr. McNichol is fired. So you need to go tell him to move on. That Morgan kid was probably the reason for all of this.He probably never got taken out of the game which caused parents to complain its obvious he was the only player to speak up.
Brian Clancy April 10, 2011 at 05:18 PM
Bobby, i don't know who you are, but don't think that the Morgans are the only ones who are complaining about this. If you have issues with Coach, deal with it. Fact is ALOT of people are not happy with this situation and your just being obtuse. Shame on u
Respectfully Anonymous April 11, 2011 at 08:16 PM
I think it's wrong that the majority of the bickering in these comments is about Coach McNichol's coaching ability. As a former player, I believe he is a very good coach, who over the past several years has not had a high talent level. Without him, I think the last several teams would have won less games (believe it or not). That is not to say that the players on these teams were bad, simply overmatched. The team returning next year was built for success and the program is full of young, talented players, many of whom Coach McNichol helped bring to Haverford from catholic schools. BUT NONE OF THIS MATTERS! A high school coach (ESPECIALLY AT A PUBLIC SCHOOL) should not be judged on wins and losses! They should be looked for as teachers and motivators, both on and off the court.The administration has admitted this. Yet, they do not disagree that Terry did a solid job in this regard. The main issue is the gutless chickens on the school board and in the administration refuse to say who made the decision. If it is about wins and losses, fine, I wouldn't agree with that decision but i could at least respect. The way things are now, I have no respect or understanding for what has happened.
Brian Clancy April 12, 2011 at 12:33 AM
Could not have said it better
Ricky Bobby April 12, 2011 at 11:24 PM
How about everyone say who they really are John Smith aka Mr. Mcnichol. Its funny how peopl are saying that he was fired over a survey. I doubt that was the reason, one survey cant lose you your job. It's obviously more to the story that know one is saying because they don't want to put Mr. Mcnichol out there as a bad coach. But things happen for a reason you live and you learn.
Respectfully Anonymous April 13, 2011 at 12:21 AM
If there is something deeper, yes it would be better not to release that publicly. But there would be no reason for the administration to hide that from Coach McNichol. Yes, the public does not need to know why Coach was fired, but he does. And obviously since he's spent the last two weeks talking to the school board, he hasn't gotten one yet. What they are doing (whether you think it is right or wrong) is sneaky and childish.
Me April 22, 2011 at 10:12 PM
i played for coach 2years and have known him off the court as well prior to playing for him at HHS. He is a good coach and very knowledgeable of the sport. Obviously we don't know an exact reason as to why his contract was not renewed, hence the arguments, but my belief is that it was based off his attitude. Listen, people can say what they want about him being a great coach and wins/losses shouldn't reflect his job security, and i agree, but playing under his system all four years at HHS, I have seen him mis-handle situations time in and time out. I, like many people who play basketball, started at a very young age and thoroughly enjoyed playing the game...then I got to Haverford and had to play for McNichol. He took the fun out of the game the second i stepped onto the court for him. Every year my desire to quit playing a sport i have played majority of my life grew, because of him. When i found out about the decision Haverford made, i nearly rejoiced. It was time for a fresh start and a new face. I commend the job that he has done at Haverford but i commend the school even more for having the balls to step up and finally do something. Criticize me as you want because i could care less. I usually don't chime in on these things, but reading some of these comments, people seem to have an uneducated theory about coach or a lack of experience with him. i have known him on and off the court, as a player and in a social setting.
Respectfully Anonymous April 26, 2011 at 08:56 PM
Excuse me, Bryan but what is your role in the Haverford Basketball program? Patrick Morgan, Brian Clancy, John Smith, and I all played for Coach McNichol. And yet you speak to those "on the outside looking in"? Sounds like some hypocrisy to me. I was never afraid of a "tongue lashing" or had my "head on a swivel". Unless you played for Coach, don't act like you know what goes on at a Haverford practice or game. He can be tough, but no tougher than any high schooler should be able to take. Not even close. And as for a groudswell of support, did you see the back page of last Wednesday's (I think) delco times with an article and full page picture of coach? What about last Friday's philadelphia inquirer sports section with a long article? And maybe you didn't hear that this was talked about on 1210 am radio last week. Sounds like a lot for a high school coach.
Anthony Leone April 26, 2011 at 09:04 PM
And let's not forget Respectfully Anonymous, that the Haverford-Havertown Patch was the first to run a story about the reactions of Mr. McNichol's firing, which ran on Wednesday, April 6. http://haverford.patch.com/articles/haverford-players-share-their-opinions-about-mcnichols-dismissal
Anthony Fiorino April 27, 2011 at 04:10 PM
sounds like a bit of outrage here. I love this topic and so I'm covering it on my radio program on ESPN this saturday at 9 am. It is apparently Taboo to post websites on Patch so google "heycoachtony" to check out more and to get a link to listen live on Saturday at 9 am eastern in you're outside the Northern NY or CT listening areas. Dying to hear what you all think. Touchy topic at best.
Joseph Santoliquito May 16, 2011 at 01:46 PM
Bryan, sounds like you have an agenda. At least I give you credit for putting your name on your rants. But I ask that you please comprehend what was written. Apparently, you didn't. Most of the stories I wrote focused on why McNichol was never given an explanation/what the survey issue has turned into, ect, ect. McNichol deserved an explanation. If it was about wins and losses, someone should have stated that to him. And, also, please get the facts straight. Funny, you claim to know "I can GUARANTEE you there are 10 others that feel the opposite way," but I spoke to nine players on that team, and to my face, they all stated they supported McNichol. It sounds like you attend a lot of Haverford sporting events. Good for you. You should come up and introduce yourself to me some time, I'm easy to find. Thanks for supporting the kids, and thanks for reading, Bryan. Keep those rants coming and have a nice day. Your punch-drunk writer Joe Santa Claus (I haven't been Santa Claus since the seventh grade. Well done!!!)
Mike Leibig May 18, 2011 at 02:10 PM
Bryan Ramona you need to relax a little bit. I find it quite strange that a community member that doesn't seem to have any connection to the Haverford Basketball team can have such a vendetta against a coach. I played for McNichol a few years ago and he's a good guy that deserved to be treated better than this. Joe Santoliquito is correct in saying that the reason everybody is disturbed by this situation is because the School Board never gave McNichol a reason for being fired. Coach McNichol even said that if they just told him it was because his record wasn't good enough, he would accept that. While I disagree with "John Smith's" opinion that all of the players currently at Haverford are god-awful (and I find it a little offensive since I have a brother playing there now), I would agree that you can't place all of the blame on McNichol for why Haverford has been so bad in the 3 years since I graduated. The players aren't "God-awful", they were just young and inexperienced, and you take your lumps when you put so many underclassmen out there. They'll learn from the past few seasons and it will help them next year. And for those of you who complained about Coach McNichol "Berating" players, go to a Temple Practice and watch Fran Dunphy. All Coaches yell, whoever they get to replace McNichol will yell too, so get used to it
Joseph Santoliquito May 18, 2011 at 03:16 PM
Great points, Mike. I, too, find it a little "strange" that a community member with no connection to the team holds such resentment toward McNichol. But Mike, we know everyone holds a grudge or secret agenda. But I will give Bryan points for supporting the kids--I'm very big on high school sports fans, as long as it is positive and productive. Bryan seems like he has it out for Coach McNich, but he seems like has the general best interest of the kids in mind. That's a thumbs up for me--as for you, too, in whoever takes over here. I have a strong feeling it's going to be someone good and qualified. It's just that McNich did deserve better.
George Horton May 27, 2011 at 01:07 PM
Who would want to Coach anything in the School District anymore anyway. All these coachs getting fired says ALOT about how poor this District has become! One coach, then that could be understandable. so many coachs, that SHOWS a problem, be it the Superintendent of Schools? Athletic DIrector? Make this school District look like a Charter School? SO rumor has it the former Ridley Coach is the new coach, they let a good coach go for a pip squeak of a coach who in seeing over the years at times can embarrass his school and players and refs with his childish antics! Coach McNichol will coach again somewhere else and do an outstanding job, as always, Haverford, well can't say to much good about this, and RIdley, they got rid of a small problem, and they to will get better! People who are in charge of Haverford School District, do some soul searching, you went from good to bad, in a short period of time! Good luck with that!
Mike Gentile January 19, 2012 at 03:16 PM
All the haters out there about the players not being good are takeing a pretty hard beating this year, Haverford has a 17pt per game player in Kevin Gladstone who Mcnichol told not to ever shoot the ball and played him as a 6'6 guard... seems with this change the kid has been scoreing more then 5 pts a game. Haverford is 8-7 and just beat one of the top teams in delco in Marple Newtown, lost to Conestoga on a buzzer beater and gave Lower Merion a run for their money. If you still think the player suck come watch a game this year and its a complete differnt team with all of the same players out there. You obviously dont know anything about the sport, the haters have been proven wrong once again.
Dominic Giovinazzo December 29, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Nobody wants to be at Haverford who wants to work for a place where the kids run their parents and the parents run the school. Bunch of Bam Magera backwards thinking people.
Dominic Giovinazzo December 29, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Ok so you finished with under.500 record again so what is your point? McNichol doubled win totals and would have had the team over .500 last year and would have made a run for states this year but again what have you done this year or I see, the team is again at the bottom of the pack in the Central League great job parents and administrators love it when you have no idea about what you are doing! Glad to see your experiment is working.
anonymous January 04, 2013 at 08:30 AM
Terry McNichol was a horrible coach, played favorites and like most haverford basketball coaches a bit bias... It is a shame the basketball program was run under such circumstances; forcing true athletes to play in the shadows of neighborhood courtyards, never given the chance to excel at the sport they loved most. At the time the program was not about winning; it was about satisfying a certain group of individuals. The invisible color line that existed amongst haverford basketball coaches was very REAL.
Soltani January 05, 2013 at 05:27 AM
Anonymous sounds like the mother of somebody who got cut or buried on the bench haha and I actually think I know who she is. To be fair to McNichol, this woman knows nothing about basketball, and crazed parents can never seen how bad their kid really is. I can't believe this discussion is still going on. There's a new coach now, can we all just move on?
anonymous January 08, 2013 at 04:57 AM
McNichol's could not coach himself out of a deficit if his job depended on it, and this is proof. He deserved rightfully to be fired. I was actually the same student who ended up shortly playing division 2 ball, and also tried out to for a division I school where I received my bachelors, no thanks to haverford high basketball. I also played in the JCC community league where our team defeated Mr. McNichol's pre-hand picked varsity team. But, no matter, my point isn't just that he was a bad coach. These coaches were to put it lightly borderline racists. A friend at the time on the freshman basketball team back in '02, quoted the freshman boys basketball coach using the 'N' word during a halftime speech. Which pretty much concludes how 'minorities' were on the team at the time. This is firsthand experience; attended games and played with most players on the team. I have a high basketball IQ, have been watching the sport my whole life, the guy just was not a good coach. If you never tried out for the team, or played with any of the players, what input can you really make on the situation? But, I do appreciate the feedback. Ha

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