Mascoma parts with another coach

  • Mascoma coach Chris Thurston watches pitcher Mara Isham and catcher Paige Jette perform their workout in the high school parking lot at practice on Thursday, April, 22, 2021, in West Canaan, N.H. ( Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News file — Jennifer Hauck

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/24/2022 10:02:10 PM
Modified: 5/24/2022 10:00:12 PM

Mascoma Valley Regional High School relieved former head softball coach Chris Thurston of his duties on April 21, Thurston confirmed to the Valley News.

Thurston was in his fourth year and third season in charge of the Royals. His firing is unrelated to that of former head baseball coach Hunter Campbell, who was let go a short time later. Christine Labore, a second-year assistant coach, was promoted to head coach.

Superintendent Amanda Isabelle said in an email that the Mascoma Valley Regional School District would not be releasing a statement, but Thurston said he was fired for swearing at a student-athlete, an allegation he denies.

According to Thurston, the Mascoma softball and baseball teams were at a McDonald’s following their April 20 game at Gilford, and the seniors on both teams felt they should be at the front of the line due to their upperclassmen status. Thurston said one of the softball players was being bullied, and he went over to mediate after the team had gotten food.

“I told (my player) that the crap with one of the other students needed to stop,” Thurston said. “That was all I said, and I said sternly because I was sick of the bullying of the individual that it was happening to.”

The player Thurston spoke with, along with a few of her teammates, reported Thurston’s behavior to the school administration, and Thurston said he was called into a meeting and told he was being let go. Thurston’s daughter stepped down from her role as team manager after her father’s departure.

Athletic director Rodney Brown did not respond to requests for comment. Labore took over the program in time for the Royals’ game at Newport on April 22.

“I was told at a practice,” Labore said. “We just moved right into motion. We’ve (had) the same game plan regardless, no matter who’s here and who’s not here.”

Thurston said he did not have a chance to tell his side of the story, but he alleged that Brown called Canaan police and told them that Thurston was verbally harassing him and principal Kevin Towle.

After Thurston heard that the police had been notified, he called the police himself and asked them to come to his residence so he could deny Brown’s claims. He has continued to attend the team’s games, standing off to the side and not interacting with any of the players, coaches or administrators, and he said he has no intention of suing the school.

The Royals, a year after finishing with an 8-7 record and reaching the NHIAA Division III quarterfinals, are 1-13 this season with two games remaining.

Campbell, who was in his first year as head baseball coach, was fired for allegedly having inappropriate contact with students, the Valley News reported on May 11. A statement from Isabelle said Canaan police have been investigating the matter.

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com or 603-727-3302.




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