“Coach Misto is a fiercely driven individual and has high expectations for everyone who enters Federico Gym as part of the WHS girls team, says Westerly Athletic Director Jamey Vetelino. "She always attempted to instill that sense of drive into our student athletes and it is something that should be admired.” | Sun File Photo
March 19, 2014 01:13PM
By KEITH KIMBERLIN
Sun Staff Writer
WESTERLY — Holly Misto, one of the most successful coaches in Westerly High basketball history, and her entire staff resigned Friday night before Saturday’s Division I playoff game.
Misto and her staff did not coach Saturday’s quarterfinal game against North Kingstown at Rhode Island College. The Bulldogs lost to the No. 2 seeded Skippers 59-49.
Misto resigned after some parents of players on the team, the number is uncertain, complained to Superintendent Roy Seitsinger Jr. about her coaching style, according to sources.
“We interrupted practice and told them (the team) she was stepping down,” assistant coach Lou Laudone said. “A lot of them were crying. We stopped practice then and there. The players called their parents for rides.”
Laudone, a former Westerly High boys’ head coach and a 1971 graduate, said Misto had met with athletic director Jamey Vetelino on Friday. Another source said Principal Steven Ruscito was also in the meeting. Misto then met with the staff.
“She came in and said she was leaving,” Laudone said.
Laudone declined to say what Misto told the coaching staff about the meeting with Vetelino. Misto did not return a voice mail message .
“I am totally disappointed in this. She built a very good program at Westerly,” Laudone said. “I’ve been with her for eight years. I was coaching when she was playing. I’ve learned so much from her.
“I resigned because I was in total support of her. Any accusations against her of that nature reflect on all of us. If she was doing it, we were condoning it. She wasn’t and we weren’t.”
Laudone said he has not seen anything that would warrant complaints against Misto or her coaching style.
“Absolutely not. If any one of us thought she was out of line, we would have said something to her,” Laudone said. “We’ve all been head coaches. We would be able to tell her.”
Laudone said he could not understand what the parents were complaining about, but said the issue “has been going on throughout the year.”
Sue Haik and Tucker Terranova comprise the remainder of the staff. Terranova, a former head girls’ basketball coach at Westerly, had no comment Saturday. Haik, a former head girls’ basketball coach at Stonington High and Westerly High, could not be reached.
Westerly High athletic director Jamey Vetelino, who coached the team with track coach Dave Federico on Saturday, would not confirm if Misto had resigned.
“The only thing I can tell you is I can’t comment on any personnel matter at this time,” Vetelino said. “I’m not at liberty to confirm anything or discuss any personnel matter.”
School Committee members Jim Murano confirmed that Misto and her entire staff resigned, but said he did not know anything else about the matter.
Seitsinger did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Misto compiled a 173-58 record during her years as coach. She started in the 2005-06 season.
She guided the Bulldogs to the Division II championship in the 2009-10 season, compiling a 23-4 record. Westerly beat Chariho in the title game.
The following season, the Bulldogs moved up to Division I and fell to La Salle Academy in the title game. Westerly’s only losses that season were to La Salle. The Bulldogs averaged 61.4 points per game while limiting opponents to 40.4
Westerly finished 20-6 in the 2011-12 season and 19-6 in the 2012-13 campaign. The Bulldogs lost to La Salle both seasons in the Division I semifinals.