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The New York Post
A well-heeled Long Island town is in the midst of its very own "Trojans War" - over the firing of a beloved high school baseball coach who some supporters say is the victim of whiny parents whose kids didn't get much playing time.
At the center of the controversy is Rich Smith, who coached the Garden City Trojans for 50 years until he was axed in June.
"I have to believe it's a bunch of crybaby parents," outraged mom Lisa McCadden told The Post.
Smith, 74, began as an assistant coach for the high school team back in 1967 and was promoted to head coach six years later. He is so well regarded that more than 13,600 people have signed an online petition urging his reinstatement, with many of them saying he fell victim to kids miffed over sitting out games.
"Just because some spoiled brat who has gotten [his] way ever since conception has hurt [feelings] and cries about not being on the field playing should put on their big-girl panties/big-boy undies and learn a lesson," one signer wrote on thepetitionsite.com earlier this month.
Now, in an age-discrimination lawsuit filed last week in Brooklyn federal court, Smith is asking that the town's school district, superintendent and athletic directors compensate him for lost wages and emotional trauma over his firing.
District athletic director Dawn Cerrone cooked up a case against him near the end of last year's school year, his lawsuit claims.
Current and former baseball players were pulled out of classes, sat down in the auditorium and told to write negative letters about Smith, the suit claims.
The district then issued a public statement saying the coach's contract was not being renewed due to "extreme and unusual circumstances," Smith says.
Efforts to reach Smith, Cerrone and district superintendent Robert Feirsen were not successful Saturday.
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