Saturday, March 8, 2014
WINSLOW — Kevin Fredette admits he vented inappropriately.
“I take responsibility for my actions,” Fredette said. “I admit my actions. My punishment is being removed as coach.”
Fredette said he was fired Wednesday morning from his jobs as wrestling coach at Winslow High School and assistant football coach at Winslow Junior High. Eric Haley, the superintendent of AOS 92, confirmed Fredette is no longer coaching in the school district. Haley said he could not comment on why Fredette is no longer coaching.
On Friday, Oct. 4, Winslow High School Wrestling Boosters Club treasurer Wendi Willette was summoned on two alternative felony counts of theft. Jeff Fenlason, chief of the Winslow Police Department, wrote in an e-mail that, “We believe she has stolen over $10,000 and possibly as much as $30,000” from the boosters club.
Willette has a court date Nov. 5.
“I have been under a lot of personal pressure for this,” Fredette said Friday afternoon. “Myself and my family have been attacked by certain individuals. The Winslow boosters club has been attacked by certain individuals. I expressed my frustration with (those) certain individuals.”
Fredette, who has been the varsity wrestling coach for five seasons, said he expressed his frustration to Rick Hendsbee, the assistant principal at the high school.
“I made a poor decision, and I accept the consequences,” Fredette said.
Fredette said he was informed he was fired mid-Wednesday morning, less than seven hours before the junior high football team had a game at Mt. Blue. Fredette said he went to that game as a spectator, and plans to also attend the team’s next game, Wednesday against Lawrence.
“I’ll be there,” he said. “My son’s playing. My nephew’s on the team.”
Asked how the school filled Fredette’s junior high football coaching position, Haley said, “I believe what they’ve done is taken the assistant coaches and just moved them up.”
Fredette and his wife, Carol, have two sons and a daughter. Benjamin, 21, wrestled for Fredette at Winslow. Ryan, 14, is also a wrestler.
“Now I can concentrate on him, and not worry about anybody else, and that’s my goal,” Kevin Fredette said. “Ryan finished fourth in nationals last year in junior high. Now I can do what’s best for him.”
Fredette said he didn’t know whether he would be interested in coaching again. Asked what he hoped for as a resolution to the whole situation, he replied, “That’s not my decision to make.”
“I feel bad for the kids involved,” Fredette said. “But — there’s a big but — the last five years I have had to take vacation days to go to wrestling tournaments. I am actually losing money coaching, and the time spent away from my family can never be replaced. Now my time is mine.”
Fredette has been with the Winslow Fire Department for more than 30 years, and went to New Orleans to help the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Last year, when Winslow built a new press box for the football field, Kevin and Ben Fredette donated their time to help tear down the old one.
Haley said the school has already started the process of finding a new varsity wrestling coach. He said an advertisement was posted this week on the servingschools.com website, although it wasn’t listed as of Friday afternoon.
“We also have an internal posting,” Haley said. “Usually, it’s about a two-week waiting period for applications to come through before anybody reviews them.”
The Winslow wrestling program also dealt with controversy this winter. In February, sophomore Johnny Lagasse was incorrectly ruled ineligible to compete in a regional meet because of a computer error. Lagasse was the No. 2 seed in Western C.
Fredette said he has no plans to take legal action about the firing, and said he’ll spend his time differently this winter.
“I’ve got the entire hunting season,” he said. “I can spend time with my kids. I can snowmobile again, finally. I’m an outdoors person who can finally enjoy the outdoors.”
Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243