Post 13 coach Carey ousted by Legion

BENNINGTON — American Legion Post 13 baseball coach Jamie Carey has been relieved of his duties in a decision made by the Legion board this week.

In a move that he called "upsetting and emotional," Carey said he was told of the board's decision just before practice on Monday afternoon, but had no inkling any change was on the horizon.

"Apparently, there were a couple of phone calls that I'm yelling at the kids too much and that they [the board] no longer want me to be the coach," Carey said in a phone call on Tuesday afternoon. "I called [Legion Commander] Steve [Greenslet] and I told him I want to know who the parents were that called and why [the board] made this decision. I want to know what I did wrong in a signed document by the Legion."

When reached on Wednesday evening, Legion Adjutant Don Tetreault at first said he had no comment.

"It's nobody's business but the Legion's," Tetreault said, before hanging up on a reporter.

Carey told the team before Monday's practice that he had been ousted. He said that the team seemed to be as shocked as he was with the dismissal.

"What surprises me most is that there was no warning. Everyone was in agreement with out plan for the season at the end of the pre-season meeting," Carey said. "Nothing led up to the decision. no one got the other side of the story. Just because a parent decides I'm not good for the team doesn't mean I'm not a good coach. I don't know what to do at this point."

Assistant coach Scott Buck was elevated to head coach.

According to sources, after Post 13's 9-3 loss to White River Junction (Post 84) on June 22 to drop to 0-5 on the year, Carey lit into his team on the field, storming off afterward.

"I can be a hard ass, holding [the players] accountable for what they do," Carey said. "I don't want to keep losing, it's frustrating. But I never singled out any one kid, never said anything inappropriate."

Carey said after the incident, he sent a text message to every team member, talking about his passion for the game and the team.

"I wear my emotions on my sleeve. One of the kids said, we knew where you were coming from and if you weren't upset, it means you didn't care," Carey said. "But some aren't mentally prepared to be called out. They can do two things about it, they can roll over and sit at the end of the dugout or make the next great play to help us win. I care that the kids get better, I want the kids to have a great time playing, and to learn the game and become better people. It's not just about baseball, it's help to mold who they are as a person and develop them into fine young adults. I take it seriously because of that, it helped me as a young man myself."

As of Wednesday, Post 13 remained winless in 2017 and are just 2-23 dating back to the beginning of last season.

An angry Carey said that believes the parents coddle their children and when a coach is tough against the players, the parents complain.

"They haven't done a great job, the proof is in the pudding," Carey said, referring to the team's record. "But we have had a couple of close ones, I know we're going to win. Our first five games were against the top three teams in the league."

In the team's first five games this year, only two — the second game of a doubleheader against Bellows Falls and the aforementioned loss to White River Junction — were a loss by more than two runs.

"There's so many factors of what kind of team we have, a lot of the kids are 16, 17 years old," Carey said. "We'll win this year more and then even more next year. [The board] mentioned the win-loss record at the pre-season meeting, that seemed to be a big concern. I thought Legion was supposed to be fun and win or lose, it is making [the kids] into better people either way."

Carey said last season he was targeted because of the team's poor record and his decision to bring in younger players later in games.

"Before the season this year, I said to the Legion board, if you showed up and see how I coach these kids, you'd see the mistakes they make and how we're trying to correct them," Carey said.

His son, Blake, a catcher, is remaining with the team despite his father's departure, a choice that the rising senior made on his own.

"Blake said he wanted to keep playing, and I wouldn't expect anything less," Jamie Carey said. "I would never ask him to stop, it's not about the team or Scott or Pat [Grace, another assistant coach]. It's about the Legion making a decision based on a phone call."

Carey said in the meantime, he will continue to support the team and the players. He was at the game on Wednesday night against Ludlow Post 36 with his wife, supporting their son.

"Look at the different styles of coaches around the country. If I fit 98 percent of the styles or types of coaches that the kids are looking for, why can one or two percent make me lose my job?" Carey said. "If they aren't happy, don't play or find a different team. The other 98 percent who want me, it's a disruption for everyone."


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