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Resignations follow Pottstown YMCA's firing of swim coach

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 03 2014 04:36:17 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 04 2014 05:56:57 AM CDT

The firing of a swim coach is making waves at the Pottstown YMCA, prompting the resignation of all 10 of her assistant coaches.

POTTSTOWN, Pa. -

Ten assistant coaches for the YMCA Seahawks resigned Wednesday night after longtime head coach Kathy Cook was dismissed.

"It is really upsetting to me because we are like a family here," said Teresa Draves, swimmer for the Seahawks.

A lot of the tension began when the Philadelphia YMCA took over the Pottstown facility last fall, according to Mark Agnew, an assistant coach. The Philadelphia Y hired a new director and began questioning the value of the 250-person swim team.

Agnew was told by the director that one of the reasons Cook was dismissed was because she put an non-certified lifeguard in the lifeguard stand.

"That is certainly something that a manager needs to make sure that the guards are certified, but as a far as a fireable offense, when a lifeguard's certification runs out, they do not forget how to save lives," said Agnew, who was also told Cook allegedly forged signatures and turned down a meeting.   

After news broke of her dismissal on June 11, swimmers, parents and assistant coaches were devastated. They said she had worked for the YMCA for the past 28 years, coaching them to the state championship and being named the coach of the year for the entire country.

"She cares about every single kid, even if they just started swimming, even if they were the last ones in the lane. She loved them. She tried to nurture them, and they just seemed like they wanted to get her out of there," said Anita Draves, parent.

So, all 10 assistant coaches decided to support Cook and officially resign.    

"We are a team looking for a home. We are looking for a facility we can swim in so we can continue to teach the values we learned here at the Y," said Agnew.

We tried to speak with the YMCA and the director. We were told they have no comment and were asked to leave.