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Terminated coach speaks to Gowanda school board

Photo via screenshot Brandon Newell addressed the Gowanda Board of Education after he was recently terminated from a coaching position.

GOWANDA — After Brandon Newell was terminated by the Gowanda Central School District, many members of the community have made their opinions heard on the matter, through public addresses to the Board of Education to a petition for his reinstatement.

Most recently, Newell spoke for himself, as he addressed the Board directly at its latest meeting.

“After all of the Board members have read my emails and seen my side of things, I would like the opportunity to be able to coach basketball again moving forward,” Newell said.

Newell, the former Junior Varsity Boys Basketball Coach at Gowanda High School, was terminated from his position as of Jan. 9. Newell claims the action was taken by the Gowanda Central School District because of an incident that took place away from school property at a party during winter break. The altercation with Newell involved a current District employee and a member of the employee’s extended family.

Newell claimed his termination was done without due process, and that Superintendent Dr. Robert Anderson did not wait to hear his side of the story before the decision to terminate his employment was made. “I think that I was wronged in the way the process was (handled),” Newell said. “There is no other way of putting it.”

Newell has consulted an attorney on the matter, but he told the Board, “I have no goal to sue the District or do any of that, because I don’t believe it’s the District’s fault. I believe it’s more on an individual basis, and I believe it was the process in which it was done.”

Newell expressed he has notable support from the players he has coached and their families since his termination. He has attended each of the team’s games since his termination and has continued to support his former players outside of school activities in recent weeks.

“I’m very active in helping the kids, still, in their skills outside of school,” Newell said. “… They not only asked me to attend all of (the games). I have wanted to, to support them, because they are, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters here.”

With the Gowanda basketball season now at its end, Newell asked if he would be able to coach again in the future. “I’d like to know moving forward if that is an opportunity that I’m allowed to have, or if being terminated, that’s something I can’t apply for in the future,” Newell stated.

Newell emphasized, “The kids matter more than anything.” He noted that he began coaching 11 years ago to make a difference in the lives of young athletes. “I made a pretty big impact here,” Newell said.

Newell reiterated his goal is to “be able to help the kids here.” He again asked the Board if he would be allowed to apply for future coaching positions in the District.

Board of Education Vice President Dollene Christopher responded, “No matter what, anybody can apply to anything.”

Christopher and the Board as a whole elected to not respond further on the matter at the meeting.

“I don’t think that there is anything that we can say at the moment about any of this,” Christopher said. “We have heard your question — we have taken it in — and thank you for that.”

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