This is a tough post for me because it is about an emotionally charged topic. The recent allegations of hideous hazing incidents at Conestoga High School have really hit close to home. As a parent, I feel sick to my stomach that incidents like this occur and that every day we continue to see examples of how vulnerable our children are in today’s society – vulnerable to egregious behavior on the part of their peers (often other minors), strangers, and adults in their lives – and yes, coaches.
But are coaches always at fault when athletes behave badly? While again, I am sickened by the alleged incidents at Conestoga, I am also keenly aware of this particular coach’s character. I know John Vogan because I coached for more than 10 years at Conestoga High School. As a rowing coach, I often crossed paths with Coach Vogan during winter land training and I know him to be a man filled with care and concern for every one of his athletes. An article written about Coach Vogan a few years ago, describes the coach I know.
The thing is, as the general public, we are angered that there was no locker room supervision. I get that, but as a coach, I know I would rarely enter the locker room and now more than ever, coaches have to be very careful about being in a locker room with minors. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation for coaches.