An underclassman on the Barrington High School girls’ tennis team is defending her coach, Ed Anelundi, after a parent of another player criticized him at a school committee meeting.
BHS sophomore Monica Drimbarean wrote a letter to the Barrington Times stating that in her two years on the team she’s never heard any verbally abusive remarks from Mr. Anelundi.
“Before a game he’ll tell us not to eat too many snacks because we won’t be able to run and get shots,” wrote Monica, who is the number two singles player on the team. “He’s our coach, it’s his job to make sure we are healthy and fit and able to play properly. He cares so much about us, and this team means a lot to him.”
That comment runs in stark contrast to Jonathan Leviss’ statement at a recent Barrington School Committee meeting. Mr. Leviss, whose daughter was a freshman on the team last season, told committee members that Mr. Anelundi yells at players during practice and matches, and has made comments about players’ weight in front of others.
Mr. Leviss said he spoke with Barrington High School Principal Joe Hurley and Superintendent Michael Messore about the issue, and criticized school officials for failing to take action on the matter. Mr. Hurley, Mr. Anelundi, athletic director George Finn and Mr. Messore would not comment.
Monica, however, offered her perspective of the coach, painting a different picture than that of Mr. Leviss’.
“He’s sometimes tough on us, but that’s what you have to do to win. If you have a team that has a losing streak, you’re going to be tough on your team to make sure they win,” she wrote.
“One match, one of my teammates fell and hurt her ankle and that night, Eddy called her to make sure she was alright. Another teammate has allergies and Eddy sometimes brings us homemade pizza and he made a whole separate pizza just for her since she couldn’t eat the pizza he normally makes. During the state tournament, we had to be in North Kingstown at 9 a.m. so he bought us Munchkins and orange juice.”
Mr. Messore said the situation involving the complaint about Mr. Anelundi is a personnel matter, however, he added that school officials do not ignore concerns expressed by community members such as parents, students or teachers.
— With reports from George Morse