In the Miami Herald, Jim DeFede exposes a baseball coach who makes his point about inspiring his players in a way that can only be described as ballsy, and he takes to task the school’s administration for being hypocritical in their actions versus their platitudes.
Molding boys into men — that’s the mission of every high school coach.
It was certainly the stated intention of Lazer Collazo when he joined Gulliver Prep to lead its baseball program in 2003. Sure, Collazo may have had some difficulties when he was with the University of Miami. A lengthy NCAA investigation into a private sports academy he ran forced him to resign as a Canes’ coach.
“I’ve learned a lot of lessons in my life,” Collazo told The Herald after joining Gulliver. “And I think it serves me now with these young men. I might not make all of them better players, but I’ll make them better people.”
And so, following a loss last month to Florida Christian, Collazo called his team together for a talk. And what inspirational message did this wizened soul offer?
Well, Collazo allegedly dropped his pants, took out his penis, and, with some colorful language, accused his players of not having the testicular fortitude it takes to play baseball. “He then,” according to a Coral Gables police report, “pointed to his penis, testicles and asked the team if they had a set of these or were they equipped with a vagina.”
Far more disturbing than the coach’s supposed vagina monologue has been the inaction of Gulliver administrators, who eagerly maintain a veil of ignorance regarding what happened. That head-in-the-sand attitude is especially sad since this is a co-ed institution. How are girls at Gulliver supposed to feel when this type of behavior is tolerated?
Gulliver’s headmaster, Patrick Snay, refused to answer any of my questions, referring calls to the school’s public relations director, Jen Vaida, who said an internal school investigation “found that there was no wrongdoing and that the intent behind whatever alleged actions took place was not inappropriate.”
How’s that for double-speak?
In essence, this is the school’s position: We are not saying the coach did what he is alleged to have done, and we’re not saying he didn’t. Nor are we saying that what the coach did, if anything, with his genitals was appropriate, we’re just saying it wasn’t inappropriate. So as far as we’re concerned this incident, if there was an incident, is over and we would just as soon have everyone forget that it ever took place, if, in fact, it ever did.
Now that’s leadership!
If the coach and administrators won’t take responsibility for their actions, how will these kids ever learn to do so?
On its website, the school offers platitudes about the role Gulliver can play in making its students better people. “Gulliver believes in nurturing the character and development of young people,” it states. “Through reciprocal trust, our students learn the worth and dignity of the individual and develop the ideals of respect for self and others and the importance of participation in a democratic society.”
Nice words. At Gulliver, however, that’s all they are.
[Updated for those who don’t want to register to the Miami Herald.]