SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

September 10, 2008

Marblehead coach: 'Hazing absolutely did not happen'

(Continued)

"Everybody did it," said Terrill, who was interviewed as he watched a Franklin Pierce soccer game. He does not remember the drill as something inflicted only on new players. "I never saw that. I don't know what was done five years ago."

"People have to get a grip already," said his mother, Gwenn Terrill. Her two sons have played a total of five years for Ingemi. She also pointed to the so-called "branding" as a legitimate soccer drill.

"It's a defensive maneuver," she said. "We really like the coach. We've never had a problem with him. Whenever anyone gets sick or injured, you get a personal call from the coach."

He can be hard-nosed, she said. "He just wants the kids to listen. He's not mean, not malicious."

Gwenn Terrill said she worries about the long-term impact of such a suit, coming on the heels of an earlier legal action charging another coach with making racist remarks.

"I get the feeling that there are a lot of parents in this town who — because of who they are — think they should be listened to," she said.

In youth sports, issues like playing time can quickly become heated and personal, Terrill said. Coaches like Ingemi donate time and effort beyond the monetary compensation paid by the school. "This is all we need," she said. "And he won't want to coach in this town anymore."

Mark Martland, father of another former Marblehead soccer player, Alex Martland, seemed frustrated by the "branding" charge. "One could call it a rite of passage," he said. "One could also say it was kind of like soccer where the kids form a wall on a penalty kick. ... It sounds like a soccer drill."

Martland, who said he has coached soccer himself, dismissed the notion that what Ingemi had done was hazing. In fact, he said, the drill would tell any coach a lot. "You find out for game situations who will have the nerve in a wall. .... If someone ducks, there's no point forming a wall. If I were the coach, I wouldn't want the kid to duck."

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