Wellesley High on hunt for new girls’ basketball, lacrosse coaches

girlshoop 2008

Kristin Cieri is out as coach for the Wellesley High School girls varsity basketball team after 18 years on the job, and the school is now looking for her replacement. The school can’t say anything further since it was a “personnel issue”.  Coaches are offered contracts year to year.

During Cieri’s tenure as WHS basketball coach, her teams scored some impressive results on the court, including winning the Division 2 state championship in 2008 (shown in photo). Prior to coaching at Wellesley, she coached at Norwood High. Cieri is joining the Lexington High School girls lacrosse coaching staff for the coming season and is listed on the Weston Middle School Phys Ed faculty directory.

Wellesley High is also on the prowl for a new coach for the girls’ varsity lacrosse team. Last year, the team had an interim coach.

It’s been a mixed summer for the overall Wellesley High sports program. The program came under scrutiny in July by the state Attorney General’s office, which was looking into parents’ complaints of bullying by two WHS girls’ coaches (a Townsman article did not name names). On a more positive note,  Wellesley High student-athletes were recognized by the Boston Globe as part of its Scholastic Awards program.

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14 Comments

  1. dissapointed
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Agree its a shame, that a jv basketball parent can be that upset their kid didn;t make varsity as a sophmore to get the coach fired.

  2. Cary Bussema
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    This post is not intended to advocate for or against the former WHS girls basketball coaches. But I want to address what I consider the reckless content of Susie Smith’s post as well as express being deeply and personally offended by one particular line and thread of thinking. The post contains the line, “they lost plenty of games due to playing girls who never made metro west or even in the top thirty pick for cyo.” To the best of my knowledge, there is only one player that fits that description on any WHS Girls Varsity Basketball team over the past four years and that is my daughter. Fact: My daughter tried-out but was never selected for a Metro West Basketball team in Wellesley. Further, I don’t know what a “top thirty pick for CYO” is, but let’s assume she was not in that elite group either. Not being part of Wellesley’s select basketball players in 5th, 6th or 7th grade, the easy and obvious route is to give up on the sport and move onto something else. Even though my daughter was not part of these select teams, she did have heart, conviction and dedication to the game and she took a different approach. Instead of moving on, she kept her interest and joined a team down in Quincy because she was not selected for the local AAU team. She drove or was driven to Quincy two times per week for four years to practice and work on her basketball game.

    What offends me most in Susie Smith’s post is the assumption that selection to a Metro West team or “top 30 pick for CYO” or something similar in another sport entitles a player to some starting role on a high school team. And this post comes from someone claiming to know the specific vote count for team captain. I consider that position which smacks of entitlement and over zealous meddling of team selection so misguided, offensive and a vivid example of something that is wrong with parental intervention into youth sports. There is no room for entitlement and there is no substitute for hard work and merit. Youth athletes develop at different times; give someone like my daughter a chance to work hard, prove herself and earn a position on a team. In her high school senior year, my daughter was named a starting forward and co-captain of the WHS Girls basketball team and very fortunate to be playing with so many talented teammates and friends. That WHS team succeed in advancing to the semi-final round of the South Sectional State Tournament. In that team’s electrifying quarter-final upset win over a heavily favored North Attleboro squad, my daughter scored 26 points and had 15 rebounds (sorry to brag, but as a father please give me that, I am very proud of her.) And my daughter continues to enjoy the game today playing for her college team. Although my daughter is far from an elite player, her story is not bad for a girl who you imply did not belong on the court because she wasn’t selected for the Metro West team in 5th or 6th grade. But blaming her for losing “plenty of games”, dear Susie from where I sit, if that comment doesn’t fall within your definition of bullying, it is certainly at its core down right mean.

    • Raider 87
      Posted September 16, 2014 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Well said and congratulations to your daughter for her accomplishments. Indeed, theses two coaches have helped girls transition into college athletics, your daughter being one. I played for four years in college, some of my teammates played in college and some of my former players from when I coached along side these coaches went on to play in college. Wellesley has a great history of sending graduates off to play in the NCAA. Wellesley has produced members of the US National Women’s teams in multiple sports. At least two of these women played for these coaches. Athletes that commit, work hard and strive to learn from their coaches, whoever they may be, will find success.

  3. Accountability
    Posted September 10, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    I’ve followed this story since before the July 10th Townsman article. That story used the word “bullying” in the title and a parent’s quote from the article used the word “abuse”. I’ve known and observed the coaches in question for several years and those words did not fit with my impression of them so I assumed there had to be more to the story, something of substance since these are exceptionally serious, emotionally charged words and should be used with no hint of triviality. Now we find out that the coaches have been cleared of all bullying charges by Wellesley Public School. Excuse me but where is the accountability? Can a parent parade out the words “abuse” and “bullying,” destroy a coach’s career and just walk away?

    I suggest we put a coach’s position and performance in perspective; here is one: If a coach uses a motivation technique to take a team or individual player to the next level, someone with a negative twist can call it a “mind-game”. Reprimanding a player that decides to go rogue and not follow teammates in a scripted play may be subject to some disciplined “humiliation” to prove a point. And a coach that demonstrates leadership and adherence to a game plan can be considered on a “power trip”. It is obvious to say but needs to be said, coaches are human, they are not perfect.

    If it is determined that all the negative connotations and actions of a coach apply and their use of “mind-games”, “humiliation” and “power trips” is pervasive, the rule, not the exception, then absolutely yes, that coach’s contract should not be renewed. But let us please make sure the situation is not the subject of misguided or vindictive interpretation by a disgruntled parent or athlete. It is beginning to look like this situation in Wellesley was championed by someone, or group of people with an agenda.

    By the time athletes enter high school and are competing for a position on a varsity roster, it’s time to leave the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality behind. In high school we are hopefully preparing our young adults to enter the wider world, and in life everyone does not get a trophy. And in high school varsity sports not every athlete is selected for the varsity squad, voted a captain or named MVP. If an athlete comes up short in achieving her goals, hopefully she deals with it as she deals with any set back in life. She works harder and hopefully comes back stronger. Entitlement should have no role in high school sports.

    Before we close the career of these coaches at WHS, let’s please step back and review what we’ve done, how we have handled the situation and where we might do better next time.

  4. supporter
    Posted September 10, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Susie Smith your post is ridiculous. I don’t even know where to begin. They are bullies? Nope. Not proven at all and there are hundreds of people who know they could never be bullies and would attest to that- hence why the accusations went nowhere. Let it go.

    They never taught a fast break or how to break a full court press??? Haha! Now I know how messed up this truly is. Are you kidding?? They were/are all about those fundamentals and every other fundamental of the game. Unreal! Wow. That’s all I have to say. Wow.

    And I might add, neither one of these coaches ever asked anyone for help or ever asked anyone to post anything on their behalf. They would never do that. Hate to tell you, they just have people who happen to think they are amazing and as a result come out and support them on their own, which is what I did.

    I know the truth along with lots of others. They are the best. They are fair, honest, and are well respected. Cieri was not asked back and that is just a total injustice. It’s a shame.

    Also, get your facts straight folks. This original article wasn’t even accurate. Coach Cieri is not coaching in Lexington.

  5. Another Perspective
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    It saddened me to see fellow Wellesley residents trying to humiliate each other over this unfortunate situation. The personal attacks (especially directed towards young student athletes) really weren’t warranted and made our town look ridiculous. I’m glad those comments were removed.

    If people have a problem with the decision of the school not to renew the contract of these coaches, then they should be going to the WPS administration and asking what led to their decision, not lashing out in an anonymous posting. I think all should give WPS more credit to be able to distinguish between disgruntled parents/student athletes and those who were actually bullied. Clearly the administration must have solid evidence to unseat a coach who has been with the program for so long and had so much success.

    Wellesley just won the Globe Scholastic Award, I’m sure in part to wins by the women’s basketball team. But it doesn’t matter how many successful seasons or how many former players went on to coach or how many loved them. If these coaches were found to have bullied any young female athletes, then they were rightly asked to leave.

    • I Asked
      Posted September 10, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Dear Another Perspective,

      I completely agree with you regarding any attacks on young athletes. Those comments bring all of us down. I also agree with you that people need to ask WPS administration what led to their decision.

      When I asked, I was told that the coach was cleared of all bullying charges and that WPS is under no obligation to renew an annual contract (coaches are on one-year contracts). No justification is required. In this instance, WPS thought that it would be best not to renew. Best for whom?

      There must not have been credible evidence of bullying since WPS cleared the coach of all bullying charges. There is no other conclusion.

      WPS’s choice not to renew the coach’s contract was the easy decision, not the right decision. Though many of us disagee, it is the administration’s prerogative.

      • Raider 87
        Posted September 10, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for that update and for asking the administration. I am glad to hear they were cleared and only wish this information would have as outwardly publicized. Having played for and then coached with them for over a decade, I can attest to the fact that they are both incredibly compassionate and caring towards their players. Coaches have the tough role of having to frequently deliver news people may not want to hear. As a society, we have to be more willing to hear and be better prepared to accept honesty and reality. We have to prepare kids for a realistic future. We win some, we lose some… If you work your hardest, keep your head high and keep plugging away, you can be proud of yourself at the end of the day, and self worth and self pride are all you need.

      • Posted September 10, 2014 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        there is a difference between not having written evidence and actually being innocent of the bullying. it is easier from a liability point to say cleared, when it is easy to not renew a contract. fyi – the coaches are not entitled to the job, they must earn it every time the contract is renewed. As a parent, a coach and a prior youth athlete, these two women definitely bullied and harassed young women athletes during their tenure. i saw it and witnessed it often over the past decade and prior. under title ix, any such harassment is illegal, that is a federal law. their wins were more a result of the girls and talent our town and parents gave them, not due to their terrible coaching. they clearly had favorites they put on teams ahead of talent and did not play talented players just to bully the girls.. i know basketball and great coaches. i grew up at the dawn of title ix, with some amazing coaches, and these two women are not them. as to the voting by players, i know they lied over the years telling players they got no votes for captain, when the players said they did. i saw over the decade that certain players who looked a certain way, and were top basketball players did not get to play because they were not favorites, especially when they did not play lacrosse or field hockey. girls left whs to go to a private school due to this discrimination. they lost plenty of games due to playing girls who never made metro west or even in the top thirty pick for cyo. they did not like it if a girl favored soccer or track. they did not help girls go on to play in college, in fact they were known to not play players even if a college scout was there. i am proud of the administration for not renewing the contract, it was finally the right thing to do. the question you all should be asking is are they the best whs can do? the answer is no! wellesley deserves a good coach to promote the values of title ix, not violate a federal law and harass young women. i got to enjoy amazing basketball coaches as a youth athlete, and i have known and witnessed a few of the best in the world college coaches. cieri and molonea are no where near their leagues. for all those dissing wellesley parents, i am not the problem and neither are the other parents. it is cieri and molonea’s bullying even to the parents that stopped parents and student athletes from speaking up before. these coaches were often disrespectful to me and many parents. and yes, they were terrible basketball coaches. they used plays that were a decade old, they did not teach the girls a full court press or how to break a press, and they actually told players not to shoot outside, players who were excellent outside shooters. are there going to be supporters, yes, most likely those favorites that got unfair and unearned playing time. just because there are some supporters, who are now being urged to write these comments and call the school by these very coaches. the question is not did they bully you, the question is did they bully and harass any player. the answer is overwhelmingly Yes! they harassed several, including parents, a clear violation pf the federal law user title ix. there should be and is under the federal law a zero tolerance for harassment of any kind by other players, teachers and coaches. i invite you all to read the 1972 amendment. hazing is a form of harassment, also illegal under title ix. so, even if you were a favorited or favored cuz you played on their other teams, no bullying should ever take place. i applaud mostly the brave student athletes and parents who went to the administration and said “the empress is not wearing any clothes!” they were braver than me and my girls. thank you.

    • Confused . . .
      Posted September 10, 2014 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      I keep hearing these coaches “bullied” their players. I happen to know all the players they’ve coached from the past 8 years. I have never once heard of any bullying complaints up until now. I would love to know some more specific descriptions of what you define as bullying. Did they threaten anyone, hurt anyone, humiliate anyone, I don’t think so. It seems to me as though the coaches are the ones being bullied by parents. These coaches are smart, talented, and have class, Wellesley would be lucky to have more coaches like these. It’s very unfortunate for the upcoming players to be missing out on their excellent coaching techniques. Please clarify the complaints against these coaches.

  6. senior perspective
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Having been a lifelong resident of Wellesley, parent of WHS student-athletes and coaches, and having known these two coaches for roughly 30 years I would just like to show my support for them. They are two of the best people I have ever met. They are honest, loyal, supportve of their student-athletes, and just all around caring, wonderful people.

    I was an athlete back in the day (way back in the day) and it was an honor to just make the team. Playing time or accolades were not an issue, we just wanted to win and play as a team. If my coach told me to jump, I would say “how high”. Today it seems kids are instructed by their coaches to jump and their first response is “are you sure? Let me call my mom, or better yet my lawyer”. I don’t understand how this has happened. Coaches are not allowed to coach kids today. It’s really a shame.

    To these coaches, just know we support you and I’m sorry your reputations are being dragged through the mud. I am so very confident that your fans will all be surfacing and voice their support. You two are worth it.

    Thank you for coaching and influencing my kids. They are pretty wonderful, and I know it’s because of the coaches like you who helped me make them the people they are today. You have my complete support.

  7. Raider 87
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    I have taught and coached for 16 years now as a result of being taught and coached by one of these women. I am proud of who I am and what I have done and it is all because of her. I have positively affected the lives of many young women over the years based on what I learned form her. She taught me to work hard no matter what.
    These parents want things handed to their children. That is not preparing them for the real world. You have to work hard and earn your place in life. We can’t all be stars on the field but we are all important! There have to be leaders, there have to be followers, there have to be all-stars and there have to be people waiting on the bench to come in when needed. If every player MLB player could hit like David Ortiz, baseball would become boring. Everyone is different, differences are good – they are essential. Sorry, not every child is going to be a super star on the field! We need kids to fill ALL of the roles… Starters and subs. As a teacher and a coach, I am so tired of watching these parents do such a disservice to their child by fighting these ridiculous battles. Let them be! Let them be who they are, no matter what that role is. This whole coaches being bullies thing is just ludicrous. They are in a role to lead and inspire a team – which is what I have seen these two women do for YEARS… The number of strong, talented women who are currently coaching in MA, who hail from a WHS team is impressive. That speaks volumes for the programs. The administration should be ashamed for not backing these two amazing coaches who have bettered the lives of so many. My advice to the kids who are mad that they aren’t a captain, aren’t MVP, aren’t starting… Suck it up, get back on the field and keep working. That’s the only way you will reach your potential.

  8. Field Hockey Raider
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I am a Wellesley woman who was coached and trained by one of these wonderful leaders that have been so poorly spoken about. I know first hand how they coach, and how they treat their athletes and I have nothing but the highest respect for my high school coach. No, I never was a captain, never an all star or an MVP, but I worked hard, played hard and earned my right to play, and my right to be a starter. Nothing was ever handed to any of us, nor was there any favoritism on or off the field. I have nothing but the best memories and experiences from my athletic days at Wellesley a High School. My children now attend Wellesley High School and it’s a true shame that they will never get to know the amazing coach and role model that I knew.

  9. Raider Fan
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Shame. I wish her the best. She was an important person to so many girls that played on her teams over the years. Wellesley’s loss.

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