Ann Andrews will not return as the coach of the Severna Park field hockey team.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools officials confirmed Tuesday that the contract for the coach was not renewed, but declined to say whether it was related to the decision to remove the Falcons from the state tournament after members of the team were involved in a toilet paper prank in Severna Park.
“All coaches have a one-year contract and they are evaluated at the end of each year,” said Bob Mosier, schools spokesman. “This was not an atypical evaluation. The duty of all principals and administrations is to determine the best course for their programs. The administration at Severna Park decided they wanted to go in a different direction.”
The Washington Post reported the decision Monday night, saying Severna Park athletic director Dave Lanham confirmed Andrews’ contract would not be renewed.
The Falcons won the county championship game over eventual Class 3A state champion Chesapeake. They defeated South River in the Class 4A East Region final.
The team was removed from the state tournament after players from the team participated in a prank the night after the South River game that involved vandalizing properties in the community. South River took Severna Park’s place in the state tournament and went on to win its second straight Class 4A state title.
A school investigation found that dozens of homes and vehicles were “rolled” with toilet paper, and doused with ketchup, hot sauce and other substances.
All 24 players, as well as Andrews and the team’s two other coaches, were suspended for one game.
After sanctions imposed by the school, Superintendent George Arlotto withdrew Severna Park from the state tournament.
Reached by phone on Tuesday, Andrews said she wasn’t told her contract wasn’t being renewed as a direct result of the incident, but was not surprised by the decision. Shortly after the sanctions were imposed, she said was asked to sign a letter regarding the incident, but declined. She would not say specifically what the letter said, but figured her fate would be sealed if she did not sign.
“It was not about the content of the letter,” Andrews said. “I was not comfortable signing a letter I did not write. I knew what was going to happen if I didn’t sign the letter.”
Andrews issued a statement after the team was withdrawn, saying the team was an “amazing group” of young women who made a “childish choice” but were not “malicious.”
“They graciously accept the consequences of those choices with the sportsmanship and class of a Severna Park field hockey player,” she said.
Andrews, who coached the Falcons for seven years, led the team to state titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015. She previously assisted longtime coach Lil Shelton and also coached at St. Mary’s and Archbishop Spalding.
Lanham responded to a request for comment with a statement Tuesday afternoon indicating the decision was not based on the incident alone.
“The decision to non-renew Coach Andrews' contract was the result of a culmination of issues and concerns that have been addressed over the years. It is our duty to provide leadership in our athletic teams that is in the best interests of all student athletes, and we felt fulfilling that responsibility required a change in leadership in our field hockey program,” Lanham said in the statement.
“I also want to be clear that Coach Andrews was never asked by administration to sign a pre-written letter regarding the incident last month; rather mutual discussions about communication with the team and parents occurred. We wish Coach Andrews the best in her future endeavors.”
Andrews hasn’t ruled out the possibility of coaching in the future. She said this year’s team was a special group and that roughly 20 players showed up at her home on Monday night just to make sure she was OK.
“This is an amazing group of young women. They are all top athletes and tops in academics at the school,” she said. “They’re just a wonderful group of girls.”