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RICH THOMASELLI COMMENTARY: IS CARMEL TRYING TO PUSH FOOTBALL COACH TODD CAYEA OUT?

Alleged Incident With Former Basketball Coach Could Be The Cause

As a reporter you are trained to be skeptical until you can undeniably confirm something. But, generally, where there’s smoke there’s fire.

Bad cliché, but true.

And the talk in Carmel these days isn’t just smoke. It’s an inferno.

Football coach Todd Cayea, who has been affiliated with the school for 25 years and is coming off one of his best seasons, if not the best, is under fire and could not only lose his coaching position but his teaching license.

And once again it sounds like a familiar case of people with big opinions of themselves operating in small-town politics trying to seize on an opening.

Rich Thomaselli Commentary

Hudson Valley Sports Report spoke to numerous people, none of whom would go on the record, about an incident that has sparked a furious debate in the town.

In short, Cayea and former boys basketball coach Paul Brennan got into a heated verbal argument two months ago over Cayea’s son and his role on the team. Allegedly, the story goes that Brennan wanted the younger Cayea to try out for the varsity. At the end of tryouts, as per district policy, coaches must speak with each player to inform them of whether they made the team or, if not, let them know and then advise them what they need to work on.

Allegedly, Brennan told the player that he wasn’t sure how he was going to utilize him on the varsity, but that he could stay on the roster or, if playing time was a consideration, he could go down to the JV.

Fair enough.

But the elder Cayea then apparently interceded and felt his son was being toyed with after Brennan said he didn’t have a definitive role for the player.

Also fair enough.

The two men then got into a verbal confrontation at the school, with a few F-bombs punctuating the argument.

In the aftermath, Brennan resigned a day later and was replaced by Joe Ross. Todd Cayea was called into the superintendent’s office and told to bring union representation.

What happened next is murky, with unsubstantiated allegations being thrown around that apparently have become the focal point of the investigation.

Suddenly, Cayea was removed from stipend positions such as supervising the weight room and running the score clock at basketball games. Clearly trying to hit him financially.

Now Jan. 21 emerges as a critical date. It’s the next school board meeting, where officials could decide to impose 3020A proceedings to take Cayea’s teaching license and/or go behind closed door in Executive Session and decide not to renew his coaching position.

Cayea could not be reached for comment.

Brennan did not reply to an email.

District Superintendent Andy Irvin declined comment, saying he was “not at liberty to discuss personnel issues.”

Athletic director Susan Dullea said “I am not, unfortunately” when asked if she was at liberty to discuss the situation.

Nobody’s talking.

But the situation speaks loudly.

This is insane, to be blunt. It’s clear to me, after 33 years as a journalist, that some people who may or may not like Cayea have seen an opening and moved in for the kill.

Arguments happen all the time. The parent-coach dynamic can be tenuous at times, to be sure. But to take this to a level that could cost a man his reputation over 25 years, his coaching position, and even his job, is yet another example of self-inflated people injecting themselves into small-town politics and trying to make something bigger than it is.

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