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The Boston Herald
Saugus football players and their parents say they want Anthony Nalen — the coach suspended and warned he'll be fired for letting a player practice in his boxers — back on the sidelines as the season moves forward.
Saugus High School officials notified Nalen Monday of their intent to fire him. He had already been suspended as coach for four weeks. He has a final hearing today. Also today, he and his lawyer plan to file an injunction in court to save his job.
"We just want our coach back," senior and captain Jake Morgante told the Herald after yesterday's practice.
"We've been asking for answers for four weeks," Morgante said as he and fellow captains James Moise and Dante McGrane spoke to the Herald after yesterday's practice.
"We don't even really know what happened," McGrane said. "You know as much as we do."
Saugus put Nalen on administrative leave Aug. 30 after complaints that a player on the team who lacked proper workout gear was allowed to practice in his underwear.
"At no point did I see a kid practicing in his underwear," Nalen told the Herald last night.
A police investigation cleared Nalen of any criminal wrongdoing, but the school refused to reinstate him — and eventually decided to fire him.
Nalen and his attorney, Michael Castano of Revere, will be in Newburyport District Court tomorrow seeking an injunction to allow Nalen to return to the sidelines.
"I have a coaching resume with no blips on it," said Nalen, who previously coached for Matignon, Blackstone-Millville, Bishop Connolly and Randolph. "Everywhere I have coached, the school has asked me to come back the next year. I have a clean, consistent record throughout my coaching career, both on and off field. Having this on my record is alarming and could affect my future endeavors."
Saugus schools Superintendent Dr. David DeRuosi told the Herald last night, "Until the process plays out, it's still a personnel matter and I can't talk about it."
Saugus High School principal Michael Hashem could not be reached for comment.
Michael Mabee, a former middle school coach and Saugus High quarterback, is serving as the head coach now. He to declined comment after yesterday's practice.
Nalen said he found out of the intent to fire him when an official came into his computer-science class and handed him a note saying he was dismissed as football coach at Saugus High School for a failure to supervise.
"It was hard for me to grasp right away because I was teaching. It was tough once I realized fully what happened," Nalen said. "It has been very tough on my players to have to go through this. It's also been tough on my family as well as my assistant coaches, all of them who have stuck with me through the whole thing."
"That was shameful and unprofessional," parent Maritza Martinez told the Herald of the way Nalen said the firing was handled.
Of the manner of firing, DeRousi said, "I will look into that."
Martinez and other parents waiting outside of practice yesterday were outraged at the firing, which they said left the players distraught.
"This is ridiculous," said parent Regiane Auzec. "It's nothing about what happened here on the field."
The joint practice between the freshman and varsity teams yesterday was missing a significant number of players — a trend lately, they said.
"Kids just feel like, what's the point now," said one freshman who didn't want to give his name.
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