However, what Paul Furlong is accused of doing in a recent Western New York baseball game is way outside of what one would expect in a high school baseball game, and it has the veteran coach in trouble with the school administration. Though he continues to be employed as a physical education teacher at Allegany-Limestone, Furlong is now under indefinite suspension as the baseball and football coach.
Superintendent Diane Munro met with Furlong on Thursday, continued his indefinite suspension from coaching and said the district is not set to announce anything further, although his future has apparently been decided, The Daily Reporter in Wellsville said Friday.
The paper reported Furlong has admitted instructing two pitchers to throw at a Wellsville batter during a recent game. According to Munro, Furlong reported the incident himself to the athletic director and the investigation went on from there.
"Athletics have a lot of emotion and Paul reported a bad decision," Munro told the paper.
Furlong, in his second year at A-L and his first as varsity baseball coach, also spent 13 years at Genesee Valley. His teams won Section V championships in 2003 and 2007, and he also coached girls basketball. Former Genesee Valley player Erich Zlomek told the paper Furlong asked him to hit players on purpose, but never in the head.
"We were never told to hit someone in the head, but if someone showed us up, we were told to hit them, but never in the head," said Zlomek, a 2004 GV graduate.
Furlong was placed on suspension after the May 12 game at St. Bonaventure University. He allegedly told starting pitcher James Whitney to hit Wellsville's Sawyer Korb with a pitch, the paper reported. Whitney did not hit Korb and stormed off the field one pitch later, giving way to a relief pitcher. Citing a source close to the program, the Olean Times Herald reported that Furlong allegedly also told the reliever to throw at Korb.
Both pitchers refused to comply and later reported the incident to school officials, the Olean paper reported. Furlong declined to comment last week. "I really can't because of the legal side of it," he told the Wellsville paper. "I can't say anything more."
According to the Daily Record, which staffed the game, here's what transpired in Wellsville’s 20-9 victory:
Wellsville scored six runs in the top of the first inning, and Korb came out of the Lions dugout to take the mound for the bottom of the inning. When Korb tried to take extra warmup tosses off to the side of the mound after the long half-inning, Furlong "looked at me angry and said, 'You don't have to warm up anymore, you had enough time before the game,' " the pitcher said. "I said, 'Yeah, well we hit for a half-hour.' Then coach Miles told me to be quiet, not talk to the other coach, and get on the mound and just pitch."
When Korb batted for Wellsville in the second inning, Furlong and Whitney exchanged words during the at-bat. After a swing and a miss by Korb, Whitney responded to a comment by his coach by throwing the ball down and running to the A-L dugout. Again quoting its unnamed source, the Times Herald said relief pitcher Kyle Christopher was also allegedly instructed to throw at Korb but he also refused to do so.
Whitney’s mother walked behind the dugout on a hill and yelled twice, "You did the right thing!" to her son, the Wellsville paper reported.
"I happened to be sitting near the Allegany-Limestone crowd and James' mother was crying and told the spectators her son was told to throw at Sawyer's head," Wendy Korb, the player's mother, told the Daily Reporter. "I am upset he (Furlong) ordered a child to do that in a high school baseball game, but what am I to do? I did not know about the incident until after it happened; I was not aware of a plan to hit my son in the head."
Gowanda lacrosse team given a second chance
Western New York's other off-the-field drama took a twist as the Gowanda varsity and JV lacrosse teams were allowed to resume their seasons following a meeting of the school board. But the board did not reinstate veteran coach Ray Logan; his status could be reviewed over the summer.
Gowanda was 6-3 before forfeiting four games after the incident; the Panthers are expected to challenge Silver Creek for the sectional Class C title. Superintendent Charles Rinaldi disbanded the teams earlier in the month after players conducted a locker-room boxing match, complete with helmets. A video of the April 29 fight was posted on YouTube.
Parents had asked that the 34 players not actively involved in the fighting be allowed to get back on the field in time for the Section VI Class C tournament. Seventeen of the 22 in the locker room were given what amounted to a retroactive suspension by the board and must undergo counseling. Fifteen others who were not in the locker room may also continue their season with no penalty.
The superintendent commended the players for how they have acted since the season was canceled.
"They protested civilly, they disagreed civilly," Rinaldi told The Buffalo News. "You could have taken a different route and you didn't."
Girls lacrosse: Saugerties won’t take the easy way into tournament
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.
That reality set in with Saugerties girls lacrosse coach Chris Curnan and A.D. Lee Molyneaux early in the season as they realized that the team might not be worthy of what was literally an automatic berth into the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament.
With the year winding down and the Sawyers sitting at 4-11, Curnan confirmed to The Times Herald-Record that Saugerties will pass up the Class B tournament. As Section IX's only team in that class, Saugerties could have advanced even though it would not have even qualified for sectionals based upon the local rule requiring a .500-or-better division record.
Curnan, a first-year coach, regarded early losses to Class C teams as a warning sign and consulted with Molyneaux about the possibility of staying home. They took the about a third of the way into the season.
"It was a very hard decision," Curnan told the paper. "But it was a group decision. We didn't earn it. If we had to go through four or five Class B teams to earn the title, that would different. But that doesn't work for me. And it doesn't work for my team."
* McGann-Mercy beat Pierson/Bridgehampton 3-1 on Saturday in the Section XI Class C softball tournament. Sophomore Anna Crowley tossed a three-hitter as the Monarchs made a successful return to the postseason in their first appearance since 1991. It advanced McGann-Mercy to the best-of-three county finals against top-seeded Port Jefferson.
* Skaneateles roared to a 15-0 halftime lead en route to an 18-5 boys lacrosse victory over Jordan-Elbridge that gave coach Ron Doctor his 400th win. Senior attacker Kelly Donigan led the state's second-ranked Class C squad with four goals and four assists. Doctor, who started the sport at Skaneateles in 1982, is the 11th New York coach to reach 400 wins. Joe Cuozzo of Ward Melville and Mount Sinai is the leader at 746 as he enters the homestretch of his final season.
* Brendan Saylor broke Fairport's career points record in boys lacrosse during a 13-5 triumph against Pittsford. The Mayland recruit scored a goal and had three assists to climb to 251 points, two better that the mark of Steve Young in 1986.
John Schiano, who has written about high school sports in western and central New York for more than 25 years, covers New York for MaxPreps. He may be reached at