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Oxford Wrestling Coach/School Board Member Fired, Claims Political Reasons

Gerard Carbonaro, who was disciplined for the second time this school year by the school's athletic director, implies that a fellow board has it out for him.

An member has been fired from his role as an assistant wrestling coach at after an administrator disciplined him a second time for what officials say amounts to conduct unbecoming of a coach.

Gerard Carbonaro, a Republican who was elected to the school board in November, said he was dismissed from the wrestling program after telling a fan and former Pomperaug wrestler to shut up after a match last month (stories vary on whether Carbonaro used foul language during the incident; Carbonaro says he did not). Carbonaro said the teenager was heckling the team after his son, Joseph, lost a match.

Athletic Director Glenn Lungarini said Carbonaro was ejected from the Dec. 17 match at Pomperaug, and Lungarini said he fired Carbonaro from the stipend position after conducting an investigation when he received a letter from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference explaining that Carbonaro was ejected for “unsportsmanlike conduct.”

Compounding the uncomfortable situation for Oxford officials, the person who ejected Carbonaro was CIAC wrestling official and fellow Oxford Board of Ed. member Ted Oczkowski, a Democrat. Carbonaro now claims he was reported to the CIAC for political reasons.

“Ted is an antagonistic political rival on the Oxford Board of Ed.,” Carbonaro stated in an email response to Oxford Patch questions (read the full text of his email below). “He submitted a report to the CIAC stating that I had been ejected from an event. This did not happen. No officials ever said a word to me about an ejection.”

Oczkowski did not return a message seeking comment for this article.

In his email to Oxford Patch, Carbonaro stated that wrestling Head Coach Ben Blue “had been feeling insecure and did not back me up in his recent case.”

“I am not sorry for what I said at this tournament, so I guess I am not qualified to coach in this politically correct environment,” Carbonaro, who has two sons on the wrestling team, stated in the email. “I coached with competence, passion, love and loyalty. I am a human being, not a robot.”

He said the entire wrestling team and their parents are upset about his dismissal. He said he’s coached many of the boys since they were in seventh grade and that he’s proud of the team that he’s helped build, which is 6-1 this season and finished second in the Pomperaug tournament.

“This was a non-event, blown out of proportion by Ted (Oczkowski) and Glen [sic] Lungarini,” the email states.

Lungarini said he talked to officials from the CIAC who said the report of the Pomperaug incident was valid.

“I don’t want to take away from what the kids are doing and the season the kids are having,” said Lungarini, who is also the assistant principal at the high school. “I think to comment much more about what happened would be harmful to the team, .”

Lungarini acknowledged there has been some question all along about whether Carbonaro could continue coaching once he became a school board member because he was being being paid by the district for coaching. Since he put in name in the race, Carbonaro has said Oxford Republicans and town officials looked into this matter and decided he could coach and serve on the board because his coaching job was only a stipend position.

Carbonaro was involved in a where he and another assistant coach were suspended from the team for a brief period after being involved in a verbal altercation in front of students in the football locker room.

Carbonaro did not comment at the time, saying school officials told him not to. However, he addressed the situation in the recent email to Oxford Patch, saying he was breaking up a bullying situation in which a senior football player was picking on younger players.

“…I took a beating on the Patch from many people who had no idea of the facts of that event and still don’t,” he said. “I believe I should have been commended for my role in that situation, not suspended.”

Carbonaro remains an Oxford Board of Education member.

The following is the full text of his email response to questions about the situation from Oxford Patch:

"AD Glen Lungarini dismissed me due to a minor incident that occurred in December at a touny at Pomperaug HS. My son, Joseph, lost a match in the finals. After the match, the last of the night, we were heckled by a graduated Pomp. wrestler, who was working at the scorers table. I told him to shut up. This was the last match of the tourny. A ref heard this and reported it to Teddy O. Ted is an antagonistic political rival on the Oxford Board of Ed. He submitted a report to CIAC, stating that I had been ejected from the event. This did not happen. No officials ever said a word to me at the time about an ejection. When AD Glen Lungarini learned of this, he terminated me as a coach. This was, in part, due to my one week suspension during football season when I broke up a flagrant bullying situation following the Bethel game. Per Lungarini's instructions, I was unable to comment about the football incident at the time, and I took a beating on the Patch from many people who had no idea of the facts of that event and still don't. I believe I should have been commended for my role in that situation, not suspended. Sadly, Coach Ben Blue had been feeling insecure and did not back me up in this recent case. I am not sorry for what I said at this tournament, so I guess I am not qualified to coach in this politically correct environment. I coached with competence, passion, love and loyalty. I am a human being, not a robot. The entire wrestling team and their parents are very upset about my dismissal. I have coached several of these kids since 7th grade and I am proud of the team I helped build. This was a non-event, blown out of proportion by Ted and Glen Lungarini." 

Joseph January 08, 2012 at 12:14 AM
It's sad to say..because he sure does have a passion for coaching, but Gerard is nothing but a "team cancer"..he helped destroy the football season and now is hurting the wrestlers..he had issues at Pomperaug youth wrestling, Seymour Pop Warner, Oxford Football, and Oxford Wrestling, so instead of trying to say these comments are not true and rash, rather i'll agree 100% with them!..Glen did an awesome job! Gerard, a messege to you..JUST STOP
jeb January 08, 2012 at 01:33 AM
It does not take much to realize there is a problem here with the coach. Besides the listed eruptions [Seymour, Football & Wrestling] there is the issue of him being a Board of Education member while he is a coach. My hat is off the AD/Vice-Principal for taking the action he did. I hope it means Mr. Carbonaro will not be coaching football as well. I mean why should he be allowed to coach football after two incidents of uncontrolled behavior? Wont it place the administrators and Board of Education at legal risk if he is allowed to continue to coach any sport after this and another incident occurs? Does anyone think that there will not be another incident? It must have been a difficult decision for the AD given he is dealing with a Board of Education member who is also on the personnel committee. The AD must have thought about how firing Mr. Carbonaro would effect his relations with that important sub-committee. The Board of Education should remove Mr. Carbonaro from the personnel sub-committee and ask him to stop any formal coaching activity whether he is paid or not. Isn’t it a violation of some policy or law for a Board of Education member to be paid for anything while serving on the Board?
Tara January 08, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Reading these blogs is very upsetting, especially from those who hide behind a pseudo account name that are not capable of stating their cruel, harsh, and, to be quite frank, immature comments. I feel sorry for the hypocrites who themselves clearly possess anger issues as they laugh and celebrate in the demise of another human being. This cruelty is inhumane, especially against a student. These acts, for adults, are unacceptable. Instead of attempting to make false claims on another individual, make sure to evaluate your own issues first. To waste your energy making atrocious statements toward an exceptionally great family with many accomplishments and claiming a father/coach to not be a good example, look at yourself and realize that your bitterness and cruelty toward an already injured human being is far worse than the situation first at hand. Don’t throw stones if you live in a glasshouse. Thank you.
Kenn Maher January 08, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Time to step aside Carb. And Teddy O is as much a Dem as Eric Cantor and John Boehner. The world revolves around Teddy, just ask him!!!
Concerned Parents January 08, 2012 at 02:09 AM
We have been reading the comments and agree with many who feel there is too much anger in many of them. People need to control their emotions when writing their comments otherwise they are just like the one they are complaining about. That said there are a few valid comments that point out things that should be addressed. For one we agree that if the coach should not coach wrestling why should he involved with our kids in any way, board member or not. If the next incident is worse what is the boards liability? Mr. Carbonaro stated that “Mr. Lungarini said that Mr. Carbonaro being on the board could be his worst nightmare!” Well he was right, what a nightmare it must have been for Mr. Lungarini to deal with the issue knowing how volatile and intimidating Mr. Carbonaro can be? He is a very brave man. This issue should not be ignored and sweep under the rug, it needs to be addressed by the board at its next meeting so everyone feels safe and not worried about the next incident especially, Mr. Lungarini.
Coach Carb January 08, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Hey people, you have got to get a grip, and lighten up. I told a heckler to shut up. During football season, I stopped a bullying incident. I did not rob a bank. I have paid. I am no longer a coach. This hurts me and it hurts the kids. The kids I have coached love me, as I love them. If I was such a horror, this would not be the case. I will continue to help the kids as a Board member. When Ted Ozkowski and/or Glen Lungarini are correct, I will support them. When they are not, then I won't support them. So, please leave me and my family alone and instead cheer the kids to victory. I'm done with this.
Steven Jr. January 08, 2012 at 02:24 AM
SHOULD HAVE DONE IT DURING FOOTBALL SEASON!..after that incident the Oxford Football team went a meer 2-5! Let's hope OHS wrestling withstands his constant news and drama!..1 POSITION DOWN, 2 MORE TO GO!..LETS GO GLEN..GET HIM OUT OF FOOTBALL, AND TEMPLE..GET HIM OFF THE BOARD AND WE CAN ALL BE HAPPY! :)
JYD January 08, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Interesting.... Stopped by Home Depot tonight and while browsing the tools, I noticed all the pitchforks had been sold out. Think I found 'em.
Someone January 08, 2012 at 01:32 PM
When people aren't feeling good about themselves they tend to say hurtful things to others to make themselves feel better....im sorry to see so many unhappy people in oxford...
Someone January 08, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Coach, in your latest post you asked eveyone to ligjten up...that you were simply standing up to bullies....while that is a commendable act in itself, perhaps it was not what you said, but rather HOW you said it....if you had politely asked the bullies to please stop their actions i don't think you would be in this mess...hence the reputation of having anger issues....you obviously were a great coach...but i also see the town's concerns about your ability to maintain yourself sportsman like
Pinch Hitter January 08, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Should we be fearful of Carb going after Ted at a BOE meeting now or some other BOE official if there is a disagreement? That is his reputation and it appears Carb has no problem confronting people, so it's a real possibility. He should get his life in order and seek counseling for himself rather than pretending to be a role model.
wrestling parent 1 January 08, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Can we please put an end to this BLOG??? This is not the appropriate forum for political mudslinging.. Our children read the patch everyday on their phones !! What a terrible example we are setting for them with this nasty and hatefull diatribe. I would suggest that if anyone have any constructive commentary regarding Coach Carb's ability to serve on the BOE, they should get off their couches and go to a Town meeting or BOE meeting and voice their concerns. This has turned into nothing but a political SlugFest. Please end it now for the sake of our kids. This event has been turned into a shameful display of adult misbehavior. PLEASE STOP NOW !!! Shame on all of you who have exploited this event to advance your political agendas !! How disgusting that you would all be willing to subject our children to this behavior. I hope that Mr. Singley would be in the position to DELETE this entire BLOG so that it does not exist for our children to reference.
Robert Williams January 08, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Dad, I agree with you that everyone should stop and move on and that the comments here have degenerated into pure ugliness. It seems many who know nothing about the situation have plenty to say. I understand everyone's concerns and frustration and agree this is not the right forum to address them. However, I disagree with deleting the blog, aside from select posts that Paul has already addressed, deleting these posts will do nothing more then anger many and more importantly goes against our most precious of freedoms, freedom of speech. If we delete this post where does it stop? Can republicans or democrats request posts be deleted because they don't like the message? It becomes a slippery slope that will be difficult to manage. I agree many of these comments are hateful and have no place in public, but that is the downside of those freedoms we cherish so much.
Someone January 08, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Well said Robert
Paul Singley January 08, 2012 at 03:45 PM
First, to argue semantics for a minute, Patch is not a "blog." It's an online news and information site; we have a section for "blogs" as well. Aside from that, Patch is a AOL's local news platform that has abut 850 sites in communities from coast to coast. Although this is not a scientific number, I'd say that at least 90 percent of them don't have the problem with nasty comments like we do in Oxford. So does that say something about Patch or the vocal minority of people who read Oxford Patch and post nasty, hateful comments? If we read something on Facebook that is hateful, should we recommend that Mark Zuckerberg get rid of Facebook? My own issue with this site is that we try so hard to provide a breadth of news coverage that includes positive news stories that is often lacking in media coverage, but that those stories and the good reporting we do is often overshadowed by the negative comments of few. I've addressed this issue further in a column I wrote in March. You can read it here: http://oxford-ct.patch.com/articles/anonymous-comments-personal-attacks-and-common-decency
Robert Williams January 08, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Paul, thanks for the link to your article. I think everyone should read it. I think you have done a great job in managing these posts without violating the basic tenants of free speech. I am sure it is no easy task.
AC January 08, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Coach Carb mentioned multiple times now about stopping the bullying instances in both cases while also stating the kids loved him. Last year, the entire coaching staff did a terrible job with the team, most talented group yet, and those seniors that went on to graduated were NOT happy at all with you guys, especially you and the O-cord. That's fact! This year's bulying situation, considering what people covered up for you, many of us know the truth, who was behind the original arguement started amongst teammates, and why you jumped in which then turned physical. This is a clear example of why it's difficult for parents to coach their own kids. Some just do not know how to seperate the two for a few hours. I for one am glad your not part of that football team and hope the entire staff is gone. It's a shame the amount of talent that was waisted, especailly last year with those groups of seniors. If the coaches had any type of game plan we would have easily been at minimum 8-2. You think very highly of yourself carb but I can assure you many of these kids don't share the same enthusiasm for you.
TK January 08, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Isn't Stochmal headed to Southern to coach the QB's?
jeb January 08, 2012 at 05:45 PM
You know last year attacking Rose McKinnon was considered “just expressing your opinion”. What’s changed? Why is it now sooo terrible? I do agree with some people that many comments are as bad as what they complain about. They don’t add any light just heat. A very simple comment requirement is ‘don’t say in print what you won’t say to their face’. I admit that is a tall order in Carbonaro’s case, but Lungarini did it and he deserves credit for it. My feeling is that Lungarini’s decision should not have been limited to wrestling; he should have removed Carbonaro from all student sport activities based on past history of Carbonaro’s outbursts. Also the board needs address the conflict of Carbonaro being paid by the schools while he is a board member. This is not a “personnel” issue as Chairman Guillet stated in the press. The board can’t side step their responsibility to maintain good order in the schools.
Paul Singley January 08, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Jeb: There is a difference between expressing an opinion about school board members and telling stories about kids, which is what I was discussing earlier. I have not deleted any comments that are in reference to Gerard C. or myself, for that matter.
Oxford for Truth January 08, 2012 at 07:39 PM
This is all very sad. Why did this man run for the BOE? What does he offer? Another bad mark for Oxford. Carbonaro gave George Temple's nomminating speech. George, you sure now how to pick them. How's your pick of the OEDC going? Not too good I understand. Are you a full time First Selectman or not?
jeb January 08, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Paul: I don’t know what I said to make you feel you needed to make this comment. I totally agree that comments about Mr. Carbonaro’s son were not appropriate and should be deleted. In fact I suggest that after 3 “inappropriate” clicks that deletion should be automatic and not have to wait for you to intervene. If certain people abuse that procedure you could remove their commenting privileges. People should concentrate on the issue and its resolution; not on venting emotions and name calling. Mrs. McKinnon, never cried “leave me alone” in a post.
Citizen X January 08, 2012 at 10:24 PM
At some point theses types of comments will die down as the novelty of posting opinions online will pass for the well-educated elite who have felt compelled to display how intelligent they are.
Paul Singley January 08, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Gotcha. Sorry, I must have misinterpreted what you were saying. Thanks. Have a good night.
Rachael R January 09, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Jeb: I couldn't agree more. My first post to VIS, and subsequent posts to the Patch were made in an effort to defend Mrs. McKinnon. I saw what can only be equated to as bullying done on line, in print, and almost literally (gazebo proximity) in the school yard. I knew this woman had children, had not committed an egregious act, in fact had been involved in community service that benefited Oxford, yet she was being publicly reviled by a political faction because they disagreed with her. I don't propose to know what the truth is with regard to Mr. Carbanaro, but some of the people calling for him to step down from the BOE because he is an embarrassment, and not a role model, stood by silently when a former BOE member convicted of DUI drug related charges , appointed by the former First Selectman served out his term. Perhaps some ethical guidelines describing acceptable behavior need to be established so that Oxford isn't looked upon in a negative light. If Mr. Carbanaro, is not deemed appropriate to represent the BOE he should leave gracefully, but going forward some guidelines must be put in place,
david b. January 09, 2012 at 03:53 AM
i hope my previous post does not show up as i am new to this. i have been observing oxford h.s. sports for some time. i was at this tournament and have witnessed this coach gerard on numerous occasions (we won't count the youth tournament in bristol where he should have been arrested. he stopped short of fighting an official on that day!). he blames others for his lack of self-control and discipline. he told a kid working the table to shut up, those were his own words. real classy. and, then he plays it out as a political agenda. i didn't know making a jerk out of yourself in public, on numerous occasions was a political strategy. oh yeah, it worked for clinton and mayor dinkins. way to go gerard. the result of your actions finally got you out of oxford h.s. thank goodness!
Abe January 09, 2012 at 05:31 AM
If Coach Carbonaro did what he has been accused of, he should admit his error, accept his dismissal and work to repair his reputation. If he feels he has been wronged, he should take it up with the CIAC first and his only comment should be that he is appealing their decision. When an issue like this is taken to the court of public opinion in an aggressive manner rather than through the proper channels, it makes many people doubt the claims. As far as the mud slinging splattering his son, that is unacceptable. Mr. Singley. Delete at will! I know Ted O. His agenda is simple. Do what is best for the kids and their education. Do away with anything that interferes with the kids and their education. I would vote for him to be on the BOE regardless of what party ticket he was running under.
Maiku Shimon January 10, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Coach Carbonaro is a good man, period. My son is on the wrestling team, and we truly appreciated his time and effort. I’m sure that he will do well with the board of education. Thanks Coach Carb!
Paul Singley January 10, 2012 at 03:03 AM
TK: No. I've heard that is not true. I'll keep ya posted if it becomes anything more than a rumor, though.
kathy johnson January 10, 2012 at 06:06 PM
I have only met coach Carbonaro once at a budget meeting when he lobbied the BOF to keep funds available to Oxfords Athletes. I found him to be well spoken and passionate for his athletes and I told him as such. I have known Ted for many years and have served with him politically. Ted is passionate and outspoken as are many in this town and many on this blog.I believe that human nature being what it is is always subject to mixed motives both good and bad in the same individual. I can not see why both of these good men can not leave their differences aside and serve peacefully and fairly on the BOE. after all they were both fairly elected. As a citizen I am looking to the the good example and leadership of BOE Chair Paula Guillet to set a tone that is void of political banter and personal attacks. Together with the proper and fair leadership of the BOE chair and the good citizens of Oxford we can lay this issue to rest and move on. Lets think of our children and the town first. There are many other political issues that should be addressed besides this incident. Ted spoke his mind, coach has been fired ,no has come out of this unscathed or feeling good.

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