Norwich's Mark Abbott told he will coach no longer

NORWICH – A number of students, former educators and supporters of Stanford Gibson second grade math teacher and longtime coach Mark Abbott spoke on his behalf at Tuesday night’s Norwich City School Board meeting.

On June 21, Abbott was informed by Superintendent Gerard O’Sullivan that the board would not approve his recommendation for any future coaching positions, according to Eric Cunningham, president of the Norwich Educators Organization.

No reason for the decision was given at the time, he added, or has been disclosed to date.

Cunningham said it’s an unusual situation as, typically, the district’s athletic director would make the coaching recommendation, which would subsequently be approved by the school board. This year, Athletic Director Steve Griffin said he was informed by O’Sullivan – following his recommendation of Abbott – that the board of education would not appoint him. Griffin had no further comment.

“Mark’s really just looking for a reason for this ... taking a guy who’s coached for 30 years and suddenly telling him he’ll never coach again,” said Cunningham. “We would really like some sort of response from the school board as to why he can’t coach; that’s what we’re looking for.”

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Abbott asked the members of the board for an opportunity to continue pursuing his life’s passion – coaching – which he called “the highest form of teaching.” According to Abbott, no one will tell him why the decision was made. If any type of error was made, he added, he’d like an opportunity to correct it.

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