Tag Archive | "Marienfeld"

Letters February 5, 2009

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Supports Her Brother


To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter in support of Fred Marienfeld. As one of his four sisters I would like to tell the community a little bit about him; some things that people may not know.

Our family moved to Sag Harbor when Fred was 12 and I was 7 from about an hour west of here. We settled in Sag Harbor and began going to school there. What I remember most about those times growing up was Fred’s intense love for sports- any sports! He not only played them in school, he watched them on TV, played them in the yard and would talk to anyone who would listen about stats, teams, star players and playoffs. Since I only saw my Dad on the weekends, it was Fred who tossed the ball around with his three younger sisters and encouraged us to become involved in sports in school, which we all did.

Fast forward to Fred’s high school graduation from Pierson in 1979. Bittersweet times for me; Fred joined the US Marine Corps and left for Parris Island shortly after summer began. Although he is my older brother; he was very often a father figure in our home, helping out my Mom in so many ways. We felt lost without him and looked forward to the times he would be home on leave.

Upon completion of his four years service in the USMC, Fred attended SUNY Cortland; graduated and came back to Sag Harbor. He started his student teaching, substituting, coaching and eventually going to work at Greenport School as their Phys Ed teacher and Head Football Coach.

Fred’s heart was always in Sag Harbor though, and when the opportunity to teach at Pierson arose, Fred jumped at it. By this time, he was married and had three young kids. Fred’s devotion to his family is unquestionable. He is one of the most loving dads I have ever seen. He was often jumping in the truck with the kids and heading off to scout another team for an upcoming game for a team he was coaching. He would often pick up my son and bring him along too.

Fred has coached all ages of kids in many different sports, donating his time over and over to help kids learn to play sports. When he became head coach of the Pierson Whalers Varsity Boys Basketball team a few years ago, he was so proud and his family was proud of him. Although this position takes up a lot of time, he is still heavily involved in his own kid’s sports, coaching their teams and attending every game he possibly can.

Anyone who knows Fred knows his commitment to his family, his team, his school and his town. He is intensely passionate about all of these things. His dedication to his team is evident. He is a good man, a good father and a good coach. I ask the powers that be in the administration at Pierson to reconsider their decision to terminate Fred from his coaching position; this is an incredible injustice to Fred, his family and his team and Sag Harbor.


Jacqueline Parker McMahon



Lives to Coach


Dear Bryan,

I write today in response to last week’s firing of Fred Marienfeld as coach of the boy’s varsity basketball team. Specifics aside, I feel compelled to speak my mind in regards to Fred as I know him.

We have a history that goes back to birth. That fact notwithstanding, there is a wealth of reasons why this situation to me seems like an overreaction. Fred lives to coach; more accurately said, he lives to mold and mentor young people, with the goal of making better people for the good of all parties involved. Whether it be sports-related or otherwise, his dedication to the task at hand—like my own—is absolute. A no-nonsense approach and hands-on attitude with his charges has always yielded positive results.

While teaching and coaching in Greenport, Fred’s persona really evolved. He was able to turn a mediocre football program into one that could be respected and admired. Sometimes his passion and all encompassing will can be much. But, I ask, is this a reason to terminate a man’s quest for the betterment of a group of young men? Fred’s character as a dedicated family man and community minded person is without question honorable. It goes without saying that his leadership qualities are valuable in so many ways, and I would urge the board to reconsider its position in this matter.


Bruce Marienfeld

Sag Harbor


Teacher and Mentor


Dear Editor,

We have recently read several articles portraying Coach Marienfeld in a very negative light. Coach Marienfeld has coached, taught and mentored all three of my children at one time or another and they’ve had nothing but positive things to say about him as a coach, teacher and person. My husband has coached with him and they were able to coach together and have fun with the kids at the same time.  Many times as we were discussing the day’s events around the dinner table, my children would tell stories about how he gets right in to the thick of things with the kids, but also treats them as equals on the playing field.

 We feel he is a person that they could go to if they needed help in our absence, we are confident that he would do whatever he could to ensure their well being in any situation.  He has so profoundly influenced two of our children that one of their goals in life is to become P.E. teachers just like Coach Fred. We feel we would be remiss if we didn’t let you know that we think that Coach Marienfeld’s positive influence has done a great deal to boost our children’s self esteem and they look forward to seeing him every day in school.


Kara and John Romeo

Sag Harbor


Talented and Dedicated


Dear Bryan,

The recent firing of Coach Fred Marienfeld must be a mistake. If you have ever had the pleasure of knowing Fred or talking with Fred, you will strongly agree. Fred Marienfeld is a talented coach, dedicated to his players. He is a man of great integrity and character. His is very passionate about his family, his town and his team. Jeff Nichols stated he was let go because “The district has expectations for its coaches, and Mr. Marienfeld did not meet those expectations.” A winning record with trips to the playoffs since he was hired is not what he was expecting? The administration in the Sag Harbor School District truly needs to reconsider their decision. Bring Coach Marienfeld back where he belongs… Pacing the sidelines of the varsity bench and leading the team in more ways than one.

Kelly McMahon

Pierson Class of 1986


Wonderful Community


Dear Bryan,

On Thursday January 15th I had the misfortune of slipping on the ice in the driveway. The result of this fall was a severe break, from shoulder to elbow, and a broken wrist. My husband called 911 at 7:20 a.m. and within seconds members of our volunteer ambulance corps were in my driveway assisting me. They worked so carefully and diligently and showed such concern for my well-being.

Just one more reason I am grateful and proud to be a part of this wonderful community. Thank you so much for all of your hard work.

With Warmest Regards:

Cheryl Labrozzi McMahon

Sag Harbor


Help From Friends


Dear Bryan,

Projects that encompass the entire village are only possible when friends and volunteers from several organizations step up to help. We are fortunate to live in a place where “neighbors helping neighbors” is a ay of life. With that thought in mind, we’d like to thank the following for assisting the LVIS in this year’s Holiday House Tour:

All the hosts and hostesses who welcomed visitors to each home; Bethany and the Sag Harbor teachers; The Friends of the Library; the Food Pantry volunteers; and the LVIS members, their daughters, granddaughters, husbands, friends and other family members.

We especially wish to thank all the generous, hospitable homeowners, Tracy at the Bay Street Theatre, Joan and Dorothy at the Sag Harbor Historical Society, Nada, Gwen and all the ladies at the Wharf Shop, Erin at Hampton Staging, and of course, Annette at the Express for her colorful coverage.

Most sincerely,

Chris Tice, Sr. and Diane Lewis

Co-chairs of the LVIS House Tour

Change at the Helm: Marienfeld Out, Johns In

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By Benito Vila 

In a not-to-be-believed week of snowballing events, Fred Marienfeld, Pierson High School’s varsity basketball coach since 2005, was relieved of his coaching duties last Thursday afternoon by the school administration. The action was taken following the publication of an interview in the East Hampton Star in which Coach Marienfeld described conflicts he had with two players and their parents. 

In giving his perspective on the events in question, Coach Marienfeld publicly pointed out the shortcomings of those players, in their preparation and emotional make-up. Explaining the firing Friday morning, Pierson athletic director Bill Madsen said, “Our expectation is that our coaches will treat our student athletes with dignity and respect and Coach didn’t meet that expectation.”

Dissatisfaction between the parents, players and coach started early in the season, when one player was cut and the other quit when he was not named captain. The administration instructed the coach to take both players back after much discussion and debate.

Coach Marienfeld’s suspension for cursing in a halftime team meeting during a loss to Mercy, January 6, followed immediately by the two players quitting the team after a grueling practice the next day, added to the hostilities, leading Star reporter Jack Graves to delve into the conflict.


Meet the New Coach

The Whalers were led by JV coach Kevin Barron in their Friday night home game against Mercy, building a 26-21 halftime lead before falling 59-43. After that game, Madsen announced the appointment of Christian Johns to serve as interim head coach for the balance of the season.

Coach Johns is a special education instructor in the Pierson Middle School and has previously coached boys’ middle school basketball and girls’ varsity basketball at Pierson and boys’ lacrosse at East Hampton. A graduate of Lakeland High School (Yorktown Heights, NY), he played lacrosse for Division I Loyola College (Md.) before graduating in 1995.

Coach Johns has had a role in the special education department at Pierson since 1999 and has been a full-time teacher there since 2004. He was courtside for the first time Saturday, the Whalers traveling to Shelter Island for a non-league game and coming home with a convincing 60-34 win.


Above, Coach Fred Marienfeld (right) at a Whaler team practice in 2007


Going Gets Tough for Whalers

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By Benito Vila


It was Hunter S. Thompson who said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”  The going was very weird for the Pierson basketball program last week, an overtime loss to Bridgehampton at home was followed by a slew of newspaper reports and online commentary concerning the disciplinary suspension of varsity coach Fred Marienfeld earlier this month.

Lost in all the commotion was a last-minute come-from-behind 51-48 win over Shelter on Friday, that improved the Whalers’ league mark to 5-4 and set up a showdown with Mercy (also 5-4) at Pierson tomorrow; tip-off is scheduled for 6:15 p.m., following the JV match-up due to start at 4:30 p.m.

It was the away match-up with the Monarchs January 6 that sent many of the Whaler faithful flying off into clouds of confusion and misinformation this week. In that game, Pierson played poorly in the first half and trailed 23-16 at the break.

Coach Marienfeld, who has led the Whalers to three consecutive playoff berths and who was awarded the League VIII coach-of-the-year in 2006, spoke harshly to his team and let loose language unfit even for the confines of a locker room. That speech did little to improve Pierson’s play as the boys were outscored 33-12 the rest of the way, the final buzzer bringing a 56-28 Mercy rout to a close.


What Happened

Phone calls followed from parents to Pierson Athletic Director Bill Madsen the day after, and a practice saw two players quit. Coach Marienfeld owned up to his lapse of discretion, and was suspended from his coaching duties by the administration for four days, covering two practices and the January 12 game against Greenport.

In an interview given immediately after the suspension, Madsen said, Coach Marienfeld had been censured “for conduct detrimental to the program. He used language that was inappropriate and Coach Marienfeld recognized it and apologized to me and to the team.”

It was only last Thursday that news of the suspension reached hysterical proportions, one publication reporting Coach Marienfeld had also been suspended from his teaching duties and others calling Madsen to check on outlandish allegations. Meanwhile, a flurry of online postings and frenetic phone calls to local reporters made it increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction.


What’s the Latest

All the animosity and second-guessing aside, the Whalers are two games out of the playoffs after last Friday’s win. Like the rest of the week, much of the game against the Indians wasn’t pretty, Pierson down 11-8 after the first and 24-20 at the half.

Tenacious defense held the Indians to eight points in the third quarter, the Whalers cutting the deficit to two when Joey Dowling, Skyler Loesch and Brook Harnett scored from the floor and Tyler Gilbride, Casey Crowley and Luke Kirrane connected from the line.

Ryan Miller sparked an offensive surge for Pierson in the fourth, his defense earning the team extra possessions and his ability to finish at the basket netting a crucial eight points. In the lane, Loesch also made the most of his opportunities, putting in three baskets as the clock wound down.

A Miller rebound and put back just inside a minute put Pierson up for good at 50-48 and his interception of a long football-like pass in the waning seconds ended the last Indian threat. While Miller posted 12 points in all, a personal high, Crowley’s free-throw shooting helped him total 15 to lead the team.

Sophomore Jake Weingartner added nine, and his classmate Loesch eight. Eight of the nine Pierson players scored, a development that pleased Coach Marienfeld, who said, “You gotta like that, getting everyone to contribute. We need it to win. It’s working on defense; we’re giving a good effort there, scrambling and getting after the ball. That’s giving us more chances on offense and now we’re starting to finish those.”


What’s Ahead

Mercy comes into Pierson after having avenged an early-season loss at Bridgehampton, by getting past the Bees 76-51 at home last Friday. That contest was even until the Monarchs pulled away with a 24-9 run in the third.

The loss leaves the Bees 5-4 in league play, also needing two wins to qualify for the playoffs. Although a game tomorrow at Greenport may even their mark, coming out ahead at winless Smithtown Christian Tuesday and at home against 2-7 Shelter Island next Thursday could return the Bees to the post-season.

Pierson meanwhile has a more difficult road ahead, traveling to rejuvenated Ross Tuesday for a 6:15 p.m. start, hosting undefeated Greenport next Thursday at 6:15 p.m. and meeting 7-1 Stony Brook away February 9. That schedule makes tomorrow’s match-up with Mercy even more critical, little margin left for losses.


What’s It All Mean

With no returning starters on the team and often having an all-sophomore line-up on the court, it is hard not to consider the ups and downs of this season to be part of the learning curve of a young Whaler squad. Certainly, the personality conflicts and off-court distractions have added to the growing pains, but the maturation and confidence shown by senior guard Miller and sophomores Weingartner, Loesch, and Gilbride have given the team a spark it lacked early in the season.

More reliable play at the point from Crowley and Dylan Hmielenski has been helping the offense, which still lacks the type of reliable outside shooter Pierson has had on the recent Keith Robinson and Dave Locascio-led squads. The ankle injury to Dowling, a junior, has kept the team’s most experienced big man and deft inside scorer from becoming more of a force. Kirrane, an able shooter and rebounder, has begun to assert himself more of late, taking up a leadership role that he will have to return to next season.

In short, it has not been “all bad”, but the schedule ahead is tough, tougher perhaps than what these Whalers have been through already; and that is a lot to say the least.