Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Gentler Stroke for Swim Coach Shoulberg

Shoulberg coaching in 2001. Courtesy Philadelphia Inquirer
For those of us who know the anger and hurt of a demeaning end to a productive career, the news today from Germantown Academy is a relief.

Acclaimed swim coach Dick Shoulberg, 74, will come back in a new role, as "Coach Emeritus," before retiring in spring 2015.  His sudden departure from his top coach job this fall -- announced through an email to parents -- had stunned the nation's competitive swimming community and spurred a national letter-writing campaign. As of this morning 1621 people had signed a petition to have him reinstated. 

According to Swimming World, which obtained a copy of the letter issued by head master Jim Conner,
"Both Coach Shoulberg and GA feel it is unfortunate that during this transitional period, when we have been sorting out the logistics of his new role, certain inaccurate information has circulated both within and outside the GA community."  
If a rumored incident involving rude behavior or worse between two students was to blame, no one is talking right now. 
The full letter can be read here. And stories in the Philadelphia Inquirer, here and here.
I find it scandalous that companies and institutions that now usher departing employees out of the office within seconds of their dismissal and cut off their email haven't figured out how to treat with respect those employees who gave their creative and intellectual energy -- and their total allegiance -- to them for decades.
Recently, a friend of mine suffered the humiliating "escort" and email lockdown after 13 years of devoted and energetic service to Columbia University's School of Journalism. Academic institutions seem to be following the harsh footsteps of corporate America.
No wonder younger generations feel little-to-no commitment to their employers. 
No good deed goes unpunished.

1 comment:

frugalscholar said...

Thanks Dotty for getting in touch and linking my post. Of course I remember you! I have enjoyed reading through your posts again--I went to high school with Wendy Lustbader.

As for this post--I've had two colleagues receive the escort treatment. (Also had locks changed on their offices). Not to mention the three tenured fac fired a few years ago by letter.