PLEASANTVILLE, N.J. -- There is no comment from the father of a Pleasantville Middle School basketball player after the school board voted Tuesday night to fire a coach he says humiliated his son.
Terrence Philo Sr. attended Tuesday night's meeting at which action was taken on head coach James Guillen.
Last month, Guillen told a sports banquet audience that Terrence Philo Jr. was being honored with a "Crybaby Award'' because "he begged to get in the game, and all he did was whine."
The trophy consisted of a baby figurine atop a pedestal engraved with the youth's name, which was misspelled.
The father's lawyer and the school board attorney question whether the firing is legal because the superintendent has hiring-and-firing authority.
Superintendent Edwin Coyle recommended a suspension and sensitivity training. The teachers union also said the incident didn't warrant dismissal.
The awards banquet on April 24 was supposed to be a highlight in the lives of the 13-year-old players, but for Philo Jr., it turned out to be the most humiliating day in his short life.
A basketball coach at the Middle School of Pleasantville called the family to make sure Terrence would be at the banquet last Saturday to get a special award.
At the banquet, Terrence's father couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"(The coach said,)'Oh, yeah, we got one more trophy, for Terrence Philo. He gets the crybaby award trophy.' The crybaby award? I mean we see parents on this side of me laughing. I'm like, 'Oh, man.' He looked like he was ready to cry," Terrence Philo Sr. said.
The award had a crawling baby on top and even came engraved with Terrence's name.
Philo told NBC 10 News that his son did not deserve the "award." He told reporter Bill Baldini that his son was not the kind of kid who moans and groans, and he has no idea why the coaches would humiliate him in this way.
"(My son) said, 'The crybaby award made me feel small,'" the student's father said.
Coyle said the coaches made a mistake and basically were good guys. But he said he will take action against all of the coaches involved.
Meanwhile, the boy is still upset, according to his dad.
"He was hurt. He just wanted to give up on everything," Philo said.
The family says they want a trophy, a certificate and an apology for the coaches' cruel action.