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'Vicious personal attacks' triggers Stillwater coach resignation

By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune, 04/08/16, 1:15PM CDT


Tony Scheid, who coached the team for 14 years and led it to two state titles, cited verbal attacks against his family.

Tony Scheid, shown here at a practice in 2014, has resigned after 14 years as Stillwater's head coach. Star Tribune file photo

Saying his family had been subjected to what he called “unrelenting and vicious” verbal attacks from a group of parents, Stillwater girls’ hockey coach Tony Scheid has resigned.

Scheid, who coached the Ponies to a pair of Class 2A state titles during his 14 seasons, announced his resignation in a letter sent in an email dated April 8 to District 834 Superintendent Denise Pontrelli. In the email, Scheid criticized what he called a lack of support from Pontrelli.

A district spokeswoman declined to comment Friday, citing data privacy with personnel matters.

Scheid, who coached the team to a 9-16-2 record in the 2015-16 season, wrote in the letter:

“Throughout almost all of those fourteen years, I have had the strong support of Superintendents and Athletic Directors who appreciated the value to the students and to the community of the program we had created. They understood the nature of the sport and the context of any criticisms that may have been leveled at me.

"Unfortunately, it is obvious to me that I have lost that support.

"Recently, I have seen my family being subjected to an unrelenting and vicious personal series of verbal attacks from a group of parents of intensity unlike any I could have imagined, much less seen before. Much of the joy of coaching in this program has been taken away by the need to defend my own family from these vicious attacks, which would seem to be channeled to and through your office.  In the past, I might have shrugged much of this off, confident that I could move forward with the program and an administration that “had my back”. I simply will not put my family through any more of this.”

Under Scheid, Stillwater made three state tournament and won two state championships. He leaves with a 260-112-21 career record.

In an accompanying press release, Scheid said: “When I first got here, it was all about teaching the kids the sport and putting them into a position to enjoy hockey, play it well and have fun. If you do those things, winning almost always follows. Now, though, much of the job of coaching is increasingly taken up with public relations. Given the strong feelings that can be involved whenever decisions are made about students, it is essential that a coach has the confidence of his school district administration watching his back to be able to move forward with a program. I now know that I no longer have that support from the new administration at Stillwater. While I regret this, I understand that it does mean that it is time to focus my passions and efforts in hockey in other directions and to allow the program I have worked so hard to develop well to look to others for leadership.”

Scheid, reached later on Friday, declined to comment beyond what he wrote.

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