March 15, 2010

Coach quits after claim is disproved

RACHEL LENZI

— By

click image to enlarge

Josh Muscadin

20080806_Watts
click image to enlarge

20080806_Watts

Gordon Chibroski

and PAUL BETIT

Staff Writers

North Yarmouth Academy accepted the resignation of boys' soccer coach Josh Muscadin on Thursday, a day after the Portland Press Herald reported that Muscadin's claims of being a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team were unsubstantiated.

Muscadin also resigned from his position as the school's director of auxiliary programs. In that position, Muscadin oversaw the school's summer and weekend sports and arts camps.

Peter Mertz, the NYA headmaster, announced Muscadin's departure in a press release late Thursday afternoon.

''Josh Muscadin today offered his resignation as Boys' Varsity Soccer Coach and Director of Auxiliary Programs, and it has been accepted,'' Mertz wrote. ''While we agreed that accepting Josh's offer of resignation was in the best interest of our students and school community, we remain grateful to him for the many contributions he has made to North Yarmouth Academy over the past three years.

''Because this is a private personnel matter, North Yarmouth Academy will have no further comment on this matter.''

Muscadin coached for three years at NYA, and the Panthers won the 2005 Class C boys' soccer championship in his first season at the school. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.

James Hansel graduated from NYA in 2006 and played one season for Muscadin, whom he called a ''great coach.''

''I had no idea he was saying he was on the Olympic team,'' said Hansel, a North Yarmouth resident who will be a junior at Hamilton (N.Y.) College. ''He never talked to us about it.

''I absolutely understand if he was making claims like that people would be upset. He had no choice but to resign or be fired.''

In 2005, Muscadin told a reporter from the Press Herald that he had played in the 1984 Summer Olympics as a member of the U.S. men's soccer team. Muscadin's claim also had been published in the Bangor Daily News and in the Bergen (N.J.) Record.

Last week the Press Herald was preparing to run a story on Muscadin's experience at the 1984 Olympics. During the fact-checking process, Muscadin's name was not found in statistics or on rosters of the 1984 U.S. Olympic men's soccer team. That article was held from publication, and further research was conducted to verify if Muscadin was part of the Olympic squad.

The United States Soccer Federation has no record of Muscadin ever appearing in Olympic competition or with the men's national team.

Two members of the 1984 Olympic team, Jeff Hooker and Jamie Swanner, had no knowledge of Muscadin and no recollection of ever having him as a teammate. Manny Schellscheidt, who served as the U.S. national coach in the months leading to the 1984 Olympics, said Muscadin was not among the pool of players he coached. Also, Len Roitman, Muscadin's soccer coach at Brooklyn College in 1984 and 1985, said that Muscadin was not an Olympian in 1984.

Muscadin said Tuesday he was a member of a practice squad that trained with the U.S. Olympic team, but Hooker said there was no such practice squad that trained with or against the team at the Olympics in Los Angeles.

Wednesday evening, WCSH (Channel 6) broadcast an interview from July 10 with Muscadin. The TV station originally had planned to include the interview as part of a feature on Mainers who were in the Olympics.

In that footage, Muscadin discussed his experience in the 1984 Olympics in great detail, including joking around with stars on the United States basketball team.

''Now when you look at it, it's like, wow, it's a good feeling to know that you represent your country and you're out there to do your best,'' Muscadin told WCSH's Lee Goldberg.

People who know Muscadin were saddened by the events that led to his resignation.

Jeff Thoreck, athletic director at Cape Elizabeth and formerly NYA's athletic director and girls' soccer coach, worked with Muscadin for three years.

''It is an unfortunate situation,'' Thoreck said. ''Josh has done so much for the kids and the school, and I feel terrible. It's a good learning lesson for us all. Hopefully, Josh can move on and continue to work with kids because it is something he does quite well.''

Pamela Hanson, whose son played for Muscadin in 2005, spoke highly of Muscadin as a person and as a coach but said she was not aware before Wednesday that he claimed to be an Olympian.

Mary Schendel's son, Henry Gleason, played soccer for Muscadin and attends Curry College in Milton, Mass.

''We think the world of Josh and we think he did a great job with the boys,'' Schendel said. ''He was a great role model and great coach for the boys. We think (the situation) is a personal tragedy, and a big loss for NYA.''

Hooker, the former Olympian, said he was somewhat shocked to hear of Muscadin's Olympic claims.

''How many people in the U.S. or in the world are Olympians?'' Hooker said. ''To throw yourself in that category, you're taking advantage of peoples' emotions, especially at a time like this when the Olympics are going on.''

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

rlenzi@pressherald.com

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be reached at 791-6424 or at:

pbetit@pressherald.com

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