Coach dismissed after B.Y.O.B. party

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 10, 2004


When Bryan Maupin wrote the longtime abbreviation for &uot;Bring Your Own Beer&uot; on party invitations back in May, no one could have known that the four letters would end up costing Maupin his job and dozens of Nansemond River High athletes their coach.

The 2003-04 school year was ending, and Maupin decided to throw a gathering at his Sportsman Boulevard home, in part to celebrate that his softball team had just made it to the Southeastern District tournament for the first time since moving to AAA competition and helped him nab his first District Coach of the Year award. He’d also helped the boys volleyball team to the district tournament in 2002-03.

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Part of the celebration was also something of a farewell; though Maupin would stay on as a Warrior coach, he was giving up his job as a NRHS earth science teacher to start his own business. But mostly, he says, he just wanted to thank the Nansemond River community for welcoming him as a member for the past few years.

Per the invitations, Maupin let parents know that alcohol would be allowed – provided that only the adults brought and drank it.

In late June after graduation, Maupin, who spent upwards of $400 on food, soda, and other favors, held the time-honored Suffolk traditional pig-picking. Rain kept most people away, but enough came to play a little volleyball, and relax away the summer hours. At the event, a few people drank, but, according to all party attendees interviewed by the News-Herald, none of the children participated.

&uot;There was nothing inappropriate,&uot; said Ken Phelps, who’s watched his daughter, son and two stepsons play volleyball for Maupin. &uot;There was always adult supervision. I don’t see what the problem was.&uot;

But someone else did.

Another parent, who along with their children were not present at the event, saw something wrong. Something so wrong, in fact, that they went to NRHS athletic director Phil Braswell and principal Thomas McLemore and complained. They believed this was a matter that should be addressed by the school board and schools superintendent Dr. Milton R. Liverman, who according to Maupin, was aware of the party.

Still, for a few months, nothing was said on either side. August rolled in, and Maupin set about taking the NRHS volleyball squad back to the district tourney. They performed well in scrimmages, and were ready to begin their season on Aug. 31 against local rival Lakeland.

But the day before that, something happened that would set them back – fast.

Maupin headed to the school to drop off his team’s roster for the upcoming season. Once there, McLemore called him into his office.

&uot;He told me that because of the cookout and allegations that this person had made, that I would not be coaching at the school anymore,&uot; Maupin said. &uot;I was surprised that the word of one parent, who was not even there, caused this to happen.&uot;

As he soon discovered, he wasn’t the only one surprised. Maupin trudged into the gym to say goodbye to his fall squad.

&uot;I thought it was really bad,&uot; said senior Jacob Andy. &uot;We’d had the same coach for years, and now, a day before the season, they decided he suddenly couldn’t coach anymore.&uot;

Jacob’s father and sister soon found out as well.

&uot;I was really mad and sad at the same time,&uot; said Shannon, also a volleyball player and possible future softball charge of Maupin’s. &uot;I cried when I saw him, because he was one of the best coaches I’d ever had in my life. I didn’t think it was anyone’s business if it was at his home after the school year.&uot;

Their father Fred said he attempted to phone Liverman.

&uot;I called several times,&uot; he said. &uot;The secretary called back and told me that they couldn’t discuss matters like this. Bryan was one of the better coaches I’ve seen. I was very upset, and I still am.&uot;

When contacted by the News-Herald, Braswell and McLemore said that they could not comment on the matter. Calls to Liverman for comment on the article were not returned.

&uot;For someone to just come along with that type of accusation and for an administrator to uphold it is not right,&uot; Phelps said. &uot;I don’t understand why this parent was able to do that. I didn’t hear anybody at the party say anything about it.&uot;

When asked if he felt comfortable with Maupin coaching his children, Phelps said. &uot;Of course. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever worked with. He’s very firm with the kids, very well-respected. If he tells them to do something, they do it.&uot;

Heather Horton and Lindly Theroux each made All-District softball honors last season.

&uot;I was mad that he was leaving,&uot; said Horton, who attended the party. &uot;I don’t think it’s fair that the team has to suffer because some people didn’t like him.&uot;

&uot;He was very understanding,&uot; Theroux said. &uot;He would put older girls on the bench if they weren’t producing, and put freshmen on the field. A lot of coaches wouldn’t have done that.&uot;

One such freshman was Mindy Byrd, the only first-year First All-District team member last year.

&uot;I wouldn’t have done that without (Maupin),&uot; said Byrd. &uot;He helped us all out. If we were doing something wrong, he didn’t let us just keep making the same mistakes, he helped us. I was really upset when he had to leave.&uot;

&uot;Bryan has done a lot for the program, and now it’s going to take a step backwards,&uot; said Mindy’s father, Mike.