Vanderjagt confirmed as Academy football coach; Parents, students support Vanderjagt in getting Charter coaching job back

Parents, students support Vanderjagt in getting Charter coaching job back

Roger LaLonde/Staff
Mike Vanderjagt, with parents and student athletes who want Vanderjagt reintstated as the Marco Island Charter Middle School football coach. He has been suspended since March when an incident occurred between Vanderjagt and a student after school. A large number of people surprised Vanderjagt at his restaurant to support his reinstatement on Friday night.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Roger LaLonde/Staff Mike Vanderjagt, with parents and student athletes who want Vanderjagt reintstated as the Marco Island Charter Middle School football coach. He has been suspended since March when an incident occurred between Vanderjagt and a student after school. A large number of people surprised Vanderjagt at his restaurant to support his reinstatement on Friday night.

Mike Vanderjagt was surprised on Friday night when many parents and student-athletes came to his restaurant in support of him returning as the Marco Island Charter Middle School football coach.

Vanderjagt was suspended from coaching after an incident at the school in March.

Another positive action was that the boy involved in the incident that caused his suspension has asked Principal George Abounader if he would consider letting Vanderjagt coach again.

In an email response on Friday, Abounader said, “The student asked me if I would consider letting Mr. Vanderjagt coach next year.” Abounader did not give further details of the conversation, nor did he return phone calls or an email on Monday.

The boy’s father told the Daily News on Monday that Vanderjagt should get a second chance.

The incident involved a student on the school grounds after school was out and Vanderjagt was picking up his son. It occurred on March 12 in the school parking lot.

The police report said the student had taunted Vanderjagt on missing an important field goal while he was the field goal kicker for the Indianapolis Colts. Vanderjagt is in the NFL record book for most consecutive field goals ever made.

The report further indicated Vanderjagt grabbed the student by the throat after being taunted by the student. Vanderjagt said he placed his hand on the student’s shoulder, at the base of his neck, to hold him in place while he talked with him.

The police report went to the State’s Attorney’s office where it was decided there was no cause for charges to be filed.

The issue was discussed at the Charter School Board meeting on May 23. The board voted, 4-2, to leave the decision up to Abounader, saying it wanted to hear back from him in two weeks. Abounader said the deadline was more of a suggestion.

Abounader said he has been very busy with the school year ending and eighth grade graduation on Wednesday night.

Roger Raymond, the athletic director at the Charter School and Marco Island Academy Charter High School, confirmed on Friday that Vanderjagt will be the school’s first football coach in the fall. Raymond had indicated before the incident that he wanted Vanderjagt to coach, and that Vanderjagt would head both teams. The Charter School had its first season of football last fall, and won seven of eight games.

“I told my (Academy) board that if no charges were filed he would be the coach,” Raymond said. “None were filed and he’s the coach, that simple.“

Vanderjagt’s assistants will be Andy Delgado, Eddie Kirst and Chris Burt, Raymond said.

Vanderjagt said, “I signed on long ago to be the head coach for the high school, I have the knowledge to build another successful program.”

Kat Bray, one of Vanderjagt’s supporters at the surprise gathering, had a list of people who would go to speak with Abounader. She had about 30 and expected more people on the list when she gives it to Abounader.

“I spoke with him (Abounader) about providing a list of supporters,” Bray said. “He said he would invite them into his office after the school wrapped up. It is really sad that it has come to this point. It should

be over.”

From parents, kids and coaches who have worked with Vanderjagt the theme was, “The people who know him are supporting him, those that don’t aren’t.”

Many spoke on how Vanderjagt has given his time to aid local sports. He has been a volunteer coach for Marco Optimist Club soccer and basketball, while at the Charter School he has been head coach for football and soccer and assisted the track team.

“I take my hat off to him,” said Greg West, whose son will be on the Charter football team next fall. “He’s wonderful for the island.”

Jim Prange, who has a son who will be on the Charter School football team, supports Vanderjagt.

“When Mike’s around kids it is just absolutely incredible. They all look up to him. He’s like the Pied Piper. He’s extremely fair and encourages all the kids to participate in sports.”

Charter student Vincent Moller, who has played football and basketball under Vanderjagt, spoke highly of him.

“Overall he is a great coach,” Moller said. “He’s a funny guy and hard to get him mad. He is a very good role model.”

Cameron Robeau played football on the Charter School's first team.

"He can be tough, but also fair," he said of Vanderjagt. "He doesn't pick favorites. Overall, he's a great coach for any sport he coaches."

Hayden Warren has a grandson, Jake, who wants to play for Vanderjagt, who assisted Optimist football coaches at times last season.

"He's a down-to-earth guy," Warren said of Vanderjagt. "Kids all respect him. He needs a fair shake."

Eddie Webb, an Optimist football coach, who received Vanderjagt's help at the end of last season, is in Vanderjagt's corner.

"Mike is a leader and a teacher of young students and athletes to be," he said.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 23

bigfishkd writes:

THIS GUY TOUCHED A STUDENT HE NEEDS TO GO (QUICKLY) QUIT LISTENING TO ROGER RAYMOND AND MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION GEORGE "NO MIKE FOR MARCO MIDDLE" WHAT IF A TEAHCER HAD DONE THIS? THEY WOULD STILL BE HANGING FROM THE TREE.

bigfishkd writes:

I ALMOST FORGOT IF HE ONLY PLACED HIS HAND ON THE KIDS SHOULDER WHY WERE THE POLICE CALLED? IT WAS BAD ENOUGH TO CALL POLICE THEN IT IS BAD ENOUGH NOT TO HAVE HIM COACH NOW..

INSTANT REPLAY? LET'S REVIEW IT... I AM SURE THIS WAS CAUGHT ON TAPE UNLESS ROGER ERASED IT. THE SCHOOL HAS CAMERAS ON EVERY CORNER, THE PARENTS SUPPORTING THIS GUY ONLY WANT HIM TO COACH SO THEY CAN SAY THIER LITTLE DARLIING PLAYED FOR MIKE!! BIG FRICKING DEAL!!!!! MY KID WILL PLAY JUST FINE FOR ANDY DELGADO AND SCOTT GIBBS. AND BY THE WAY HE GOT HIS FAIR SHAKE,, HE SHOOK THE KIDS HEAD:)HE MUST GO "NO MIKE FOR MARCO MIDDLE" GO TO LELY, OOPS.. OH YOU CAN'T GO THERE EITHER....

cribguy writes:

Mike is a good person and an outstanding coach and mentor for the youth and children of Marco Island.It has been my opinion that he should remain the coach,as the positives he brings by far outweigh this small mistake he made to a kid who was being disrespectful.

All of the aforementioned adults in this story know my son and have knowledge of the current situation that our family is going through regarding his situation at Lely High School.Rodger Lalonde,NDN's Tom Hanson and other media professionals also know about this situation.

A decision is to be made this week by the Collier County School Board regarding this.I am hoping this will be based on the facts as to what has happened through the course of the year.
I am unsure of what will be decided as I was told in my last conversation will the investigator that everyone was entitled to their opinion as to what has happened.

As an investigator I feel that others opinions should not factor into the case,only facts.These are very serious charges and we want the facts to determine the outcome of this.This investigation has been ongoing for over a month now and we are waiting for the final decision to be announced .

cribguy writes:

in response to bigfishkd:

I ALMOST FORGOT IF HE ONLY PLACED HIS HAND ON THE KIDS SHOULDER WHY WERE THE POLICE CALLED? IT WAS BAD ENOUGH TO CALL POLICE THEN IT IS BAD ENOUGH NOT TO HAVE HIM COACH NOW..

INSTANT REPLAY? LET'S REVIEW IT... I AM SURE THIS WAS CAUGHT ON TAPE UNLESS ROGER ERASED IT. THE SCHOOL HAS CAMERAS ON EVERY CORNER, THE PARENTS SUPPORTING THIS GUY ONLY WANT HIM TO COACH SO THEY CAN SAY THIER LITTLE DARLIING PLAYED FOR MIKE!! BIG FRICKING DEAL!!!!! MY KID WILL PLAY JUST FINE FOR ANDY DELGADO AND SCOTT GIBBS. AND BY THE WAY HE GOT HIS FAIR SHAKE,, HE SHOOK THE KIDS HEAD:)HE MUST GO "NO MIKE FOR MARCO MIDDLE" GO TO LELY, OOPS.. OH YOU CAN'T GO THERE EITHER....

bigfishkd
Here is some video that you can look at.Keep in mind this is not a one time occurrence.This is to my knowledge the only time it was recorded.
http://youtu.be/O68lCehs_XU

bigfishkd writes:

in response to cribguy:

bigfishkd
Here is some video that you can look at.Keep in mind this is not a one time occurrence.This is to my knowledge the only time it was recorded.
http://youtu.be/O68lCehs_XU

It looks like he was trying to give him a head shake kinda of like go get em, atta boy etc.... thats just my opinion.

cribguy writes:

in response to bigfishkd:

It looks like he was trying to give him a head shake kinda of like go get em, atta boy etc.... thats just my opinion.

Thanks for watching and I appreciate your opinion.I only wish I could show you the estimated 20-30 times this happened throughout the season,or the bloody nose my son recieved during a contact drill during practice,or the 2 day headache he had after a basketball was hurled into his head at practice,or the other players demeanor after he was hit into the head with a backpack. I look at this video and it almost brings me to tears knowing that this is my son and these thing were done to him and the effects it has had on him.He does not want this attention but I realize you don't know the whole story and it is not your son.

waterday writes:

http://youtu.be/WH2DUOeEcZ4

In response to bigfishkd.

A Head Shake? Is that a new term for a Head Smack? didn't realize we were Head smacking our kids for motivation. Assaults and head smacks are not motivational tools. Collier County has a zero tolerance policy to bullies that smack kids in the head and harassment

bigfishkd writes:

I didnt see the rest all i saw is the clip you sent sorry to see your son was hurt all this says is Mike did it once and got away with it what is next? a choke is an assault also 25 yr on marco. I would have had to take this slap in the head into my own hands..if had been my son or daughter. maybe Mike can help you here maybe he can choke the coach while you hit him...

bigfishkd writes:

EXCUSE ME! I THINK HE LEFT MARCO AND TOOK HIS SON TO PLAY IN A NAPLES FOOTBALL LEAGUE ALONG WITH OTHERS IN THIS ARTICLE THAT ARE SUPPORTING HIM. HMMMM LET ME THINK A MINUTE THE OPTIMIST WOULDN'T LET HIM OR ONE OF HIS SUPPORTERS COACH OR THEY WERE MAD AT SOMEONE??? SO HE WILL TAKE HIS BALL AND GO HOME? THAT'S WHAT HE IS ALL ABOUT.

RayPray writes:

This is Great News.

Sometimes dumb kids have to be taught even basic skills.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BZMvq...

Chestnutcondo#257855 writes:

cribguy, I have watched your video 20 times and I see no "go gettem", "atta boy" in it. I see some slug hitting a kid awful darn hard to make his head snap like that. In my mind this is totally wrong and has no correlation to the Mike story. Your kid was not being disrespectful, he was going out to play. The coach was not reprimanding your kid, he intentionally scoped him out to give him a shot. Different circumstances entirely!!! Mike is a great guy, a
great coach and wonderful influence on our kids. The guy in your video is a thug trying to use his power as a coach against a great athlete. I do not see any positive reinforcement or building an athletes self confidence in this video!

Brisla writes:

Anybody who sees the Lely coach as giving the player an "atta boy" has an obvious bias. He smacked him!

Mike put his hand on the kid's shoulder, something that I would guess happens every day in classrooms everywhere - and the teachers don't end up "hanging from a tree." It does not constitute an assault, and it does not warrant being banned from coaching.

bigfishkd - you apparently have a chip on your shoulder about Mike. You just don't have the guts to talk to him man-to-man.

bigfishkd writes:

in response to Brisla:

Anybody who sees the Lely coach as giving the player an "atta boy" has an obvious bias. He smacked him!

Mike put his hand on the kid's shoulder, something that I would guess happens every day in classrooms everywhere - and the teachers don't end up "hanging from a tree." It does not constitute an assault, and it does not warrant being banned from coaching.

bigfishkd - you apparently have a chip on your shoulder about Mike. You just don't have the guts to talk to him man-to-man.

Brisla

Did you see it happen? thought so:) why were the police called? I barely know him. But you as everyone else is protecting him. He chocked a kid let's see the video from the corner of the school? So all these parents think thier kid is going PRO because Mike coached them, not one of them as they are to much like you... and yes if a teacher does soemthing s----- they hang from a tree. If your kid fails the FCAT it is the teachers fault.(right?) if your kid strikes out in a baseball game it is the coaches fault.. Right? you protecting your child from the world.. it is your fault. If your kid can't read it is the teacher's fault? NOT.. Start parenting and get off the teachers butts let your kid protect him or herself? If that coach hit my kid i would be in jail right now speaking to you from a phone with a polyglass wall between us. sorry but do what is right....

bigfishkd writes:

Did the police take pictures? Let's post them please DO.... Does Mike only care about coaching his son? More ISLAND Daddy ball????:) OF COURSE HE DOES (SAINT JOHN NEWMAN"S NEXT??)
He is coaching the MIA is that not good enough take the year off and see what happens...........

Ruger writes:

What a surprise, someone has created a new screen name(bigfishkd} just to attack Marco's New High School, again.

Pathetic.

Brisla writes:

in response to bigfishkd:

Brisla

Did you see it happen? thought so:) why were the police called? I barely know him. But you as everyone else is protecting him. He chocked a kid let's see the video from the corner of the school? So all these parents think thier kid is going PRO because Mike coached them, not one of them as they are to much like you... and yes if a teacher does soemthing s----- they hang from a tree. If your kid fails the FCAT it is the teachers fault.(right?) if your kid strikes out in a baseball game it is the coaches fault.. Right? you protecting your child from the world.. it is your fault. If your kid can't read it is the teacher's fault? NOT.. Start parenting and get off the teachers butts let your kid protect him or herself? If that coach hit my kid i would be in jail right now speaking to you from a phone with a polyglass wall between us. sorry but do what is right....

Did you see it happen? Thought so. So why are you ready to hang the guy from a tree? Innocent until proven guilty in America, bigfish.

And no, he didn't "chock" the kid. He put his hand on his shoulder, according to all parties who were there to witness it.

Johnnymarco49 writes:

Blah blah blah...you people missed the point of the problem. The kids messed with a dried up (Al Bundy)coach and he couldn't handle it. All this over the fact Mike didn't like being mocked..."laces out Dan." Go back to your bar and have a drink but let's keep our hands off the kids.

eaglepalooza writes:

Mickey Mouse coaches coaching a Mickey Mouse school! No place for middle school football and until the Academy becomes a REAL school there is no place for football there either.

syscoDK writes:

@bigfish"kd" (kd/dk... same thing, right?)

Do you prefer my username... or does twofacedDK work better for you? Both are fitting! :)

themessiah writes:

If the police were called every time an educator/coach put their hands on someone's shoulders, they would be there all day, every day.

This was OBVIOUSLY a more serious matter as they called the police.

The support and retraction from the kid and his family is OBVIOUSLY due to pressure I'm sure they received from supporters of "the idiot kicker (Payton Manning's pet name for Vanderjagt).

Don't let the supporters fool you. This was a BIG incident that is trying to be swept under the rug.

You do not put your hands on ANYONE'S children, whether to choke them or "hold them in place" while you gently discuss them teasing you....

LittlePond writes:

My child was verbally abused by a teacher. Cussed at and suffered public humiliation at her hands. Yes - this does qualify as abuse under the anti-bullying act. That teacher was not hung from a tree. Although that incident was reported to the principal (not at MICMS, by the way), and the superintendent of schools, this so-called educator continues to teach - or should I say "not teach."

Many coaches don't train or teach, but choose to yell at and degrade their players. Mike does not do this.

At times, Mike has endured taunting and jeering from his players, and never lost his cool. So no, bigfish, this is not a repeat incident, if it even was an incident at all.

Why were the police called? Good question. Why couldn't the situation have been immediately assessed to see if it warranted police intervention, or whether it should remain a school matter? Since no charges were filed, it obviously didn't require the cavalry. However, because the alleged act was not assessed properly right away, the police did get involved. If this was a critical situation, why didn't the school administrators rush to the scene right away? If it was reported to you that someone MAY have twisted their ankle on the curb, would you call an ambulance, or check the validity of the information?

This mishandling subjected Mike to criticism by the press, both locally and nationally, and among you bloggers. I'm embarrassed to see that many of you have fallen so low and are enjoying this Mike-roast. I'm sure you'll struggle temporarily to occupy your time with negativity once this is over, but I'm confident that there will be somebody else you'll enjoy denigrating soon enough.

As a parent, I'm amazed at Mike's composure through this ordeal. It must be difficult to deal with all the student-athletes' personalities, as well as the parents. What makes this especially conflicting is when mixed messages are sent by the parents. Some say they want their son to be tough and experience the real world, and remind them that this ain't no "Daddy Ball," yet they cry like little babies when somebody puts their hand on some kid's shoulder.

To those who posted in support of Mike, hats off to you.

To cribguy, I feel your pain.

To George A, I say don't read these blogs. We all know that people usually fill out customer satisfaction cards only when they're unhappy. The sample size of opinions on these blogs is not indicative of the true feelings of the parents, who are mostly supportive of Mike. Also, this is not a public vote issue. It's a matter of doing the right thing, after the student admitted that there was no choking. And his father requested Mike's reinstatement.

To Mike I say this may be a good thing - now you really know who your friends are.

cribguy writes:

I wanted to summarize comments made on this blog and the other two regarding the current situation
my family and son are dealing with at Lely High School.After reading these I think it is important that the public know who
thes individuals are.
cribguy-myself,father of student athlete
25years on marco-mother of student atlete

florida cracker,islandstyle,realityatlelyhs-Varsity basketball coachig staff.The head coach,assistant coach under investigation
and the third another possible coach or Lely administrator or 1 of the 2 coaches aforementioned using another account name.

The blogs:
Marco News-http://www.marconews.com/news/2012/ju...
Naplesnews Prepzone-http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/j...
Naplesnews Education- http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/j...

First off I want to thank these 2 or 3 individuals for speaking so freely and openly.You most certainly have revealed who you are
with your detailed knowledge of the situation.These 3 accounts were set up within 1 hour to refute the first post and have no other
comments on any other story.Details regarding basketball practices,post game confrontations,abuses beginning in October,
previous exonerations given to the coach,and most disturbingly how the district sees us as"loose cannons","Laughing stock".
As you know these are very serious acts.Smacking players in the head,throwing basketballs and backpacks to their heads,hitting
them in the face were they receive bloody noses,patterns of constant verbal and mental abuse.To minimize,downplay,justify these
actions is typical characteristics of an abuser.It is not unreasonable that we demand the School District make their decision
based on these facts.DID THESE THINGS HAPPEN.It is the investigator's job to determine this.

Secondly,regarding the video.The audio is not altered.The coach has a full,exact digital copy of the entire game.Play it back for
yourself.It is clip #106 of 192.It happens at the 19 second mark.Again see for yourself.I also appreciate you bring this to light
as I have never mention this in the blogs.As far as being embarrassed,I am not.You should be embarrassed as you allowed this type of
behavior to begin as you said in October until the final game of the year.It the assistant coach,dressed like a slob in a t-shirt
at the most important game of the year smacking a player in the head so hard it is picked up from my camera.Tell me who should be
embarrassed....really.

cribguy writes:

Also regarding the video.You 2 or 3 individuals have stated:
"the video clip of a coach patting a player on the head"
"no different than tapping a kid's helmet"
"what is clearly a pat on the back"

Does this look like a pat,or a tap on a helmet.Does this look like it is to the back.You should be embarrassed to have stated this.
Again to minimize,downplay and justify actions of this nature are typical traits of an abuser.

In closing we are demanding the School District decide this month long investigation based on facts.It is not unreasonable that we
ask this.Did these several acts against our son and others happen.The 2 or 3 individuals have clearly shown they have an inside
line to district officials.They have shown how we as responsible parents may be viewed in their eyes.I can assure you it takes a
lot of courage to stand up for what is right.To speak out and call out injustices is not easy.We will not allow our children to be
hit,smacked,etc.etc.To other players,parents and adults who know these things to be true.I understand why others may not be so
forthcoming in their knowledge of the situation.It is not their son,not their problem.I get that.If you can't take a stand for
something then you will fall for anything.

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