Westwood Track Coach Fired Over ‘Shirtless Runner’ Rule

WESTWOOD (CBS) – The Westwood boys track team competed Thursday without their head coach Tom Davis.

Davis was fired in front of his players last week.

“It was really dramatic fashion,” said Davis. “They escorted me off the premises as if I was a threat to the kids, which is amazing given the (athletic director)’s background.”

WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton reports

Coach Davis says he stepped in after athletic director Karl Fogel got into a heated discussion with one of the runners, because his shirt was off during practice.

The shirt controversy started two weeks ago when someone complained to the school about the boys track team running without shirts.

The school department made it very clear they didn’t like that, and told the coach someone may be kicked off the team. But there was no official rule set.

“It was such a messed up situation,” said Davis. “There was never a rule enforced. The first instance that there was a rule, it was confrontational. That’s unacceptable.”

The school said that “Friday’s decision to relieve Mr. Davis of his duties was not the result of a single incident, but rather the regrettable outcome of an ongoing discussion.” They did not elaborate on what that ongoing discussion may have been.

Davis though, says Fogel was the problem. “(He) comes at me, bumps me chest to chest, spit coming in my face…” he claims.

And according to former coach Dick Sullivan, there’s a history. Sullivan resigned as head track and football coach at Westwood two years ago. He also got into a heated discussion with Fogel.

“It’s not the first time or the second or the third time,” said Sullivan. “I wonder what the school administration is thinking by supporting the athletic director.”

  • Max

    It’s probably a gender issue, you know…
    the girls can’t do it, therefore the boys
    shouldn’t be able to either.

    • Jason Ryan Windon

      does that mean that boys should stop peeing standing up because girls cant do it?

      • Crysee Edson


      • Kim Prather

        Good one!!

      • Carl


  • jason

    i wouldnt think it would be a gender issue unless some feminists got involved. What woman would want to wear without some type of support bra? that would actually be kind of painful.

    also, it’s the same thing when men go shirtless at the beach or whatever…no one seems to have an issue with that

    • razmataz

      What’s the big deal? When I was in high school, we always use to play games in the gym as ‘shirts’ and ‘skins’. Methinks this guy Fogel has some latent issues he doesn’t want to face.

  • Jason Ryan Windon

    you said it

  • Jennifer

    This is just plain crazy! They’re teenage boys. They’re runners. It’s hot out. They took their shirts off. It’s normal behavior. Who cares? The fact that this coach got fired for it is ridiculous!

    • Deb Taylor

      i agree.. who CARES??? what an effed up place

  • jeff

    perhaps they should be made to wear a burka!

  • Cynthia

    tired…yes you are and so is your argument. Nothing in the story indicates it was a woman who complained or why the complaint was made in the first place. There are many reasons why someone would complain…sun exposure to skin that hasn’t seen daylight in months, over zealous school spirit…any number of confusing reasons. As for fat cows and McDonalds, I would venture a guess that for every fat woman in line there are two fat guys who still believe they have the bod, they still wear size 32 only now its BELOW the belly, just above the groin…. There is less ridicule and stupid comments about fat guys, I guess women are more reasonable and tolerant. The left has its own guilt, interence in sooo many other areas, that its amazing you would throw all those stones while glass is breaking all around you! As for the Constitution, the right bringing up the Constitution is always good for a laugh.

    NOW, it seems the problem is the coaches, but the AD. Time for the parents to ask some tough questions.

    • Marge Gunderson

      Can we please have two separate comment threads for each article? One for those of us who actually read the stories and wish to discuss them intelligently; the other for those who don’t read anything but simply spam their same pointless squealing and whining rants against the left or the right on every single comment forum?

      There are numerous political articles and comment areas; please stop shoving your whining down our throats on completely unrelated stories!

    • cynthia

      Sorry, should have read…the problem ISN’T the coaches…

  • Oh, Westwood

    Davis is cute!

    This controversy is silly.

  • James Harrison

    Why do you blame this on the left? I am a liberal but also believe that political correctness has gone WAY TOO FAR!! This guy should never have been fired for this!

  • Kim Prather

    I live in an average size town in Indiana. Our high school boys run everyday without shirts. I graduated 25 yrs ago and they did it while I was in school too. They run all over town. No big deal. Some people are just prudes and they are the one with the problem. If it makes them uncomfortable to see a boys chest…maybe they are the ones with a “secret” little problem they should get help for.

    • Deb Taylor

      lol.. @ secret lil problem

    • Linda

      You got that right! If the sight of a boy running shirtless is disturbing to someone, that someone is either FLDS or a little too interested in other men’s chests AND in the closet about it. Ridiculous issue! Boys running without shirts, girls running in sports bras, why does everything have a sexual connotation these days???

  • Richard

    Funny, when I go out without a shirt it is everyone else who starts running.

  • d1Runner

    I constantly got in trouble in high school for running shirtless. It was 90+ degrees outside, you try running 10-15 miles when its that hot out with a shirt. It’s ridiculous how few AD’s understand the sport.

  • Howie

    I’m not sure if this is political correctness gone crazy, or an extension of some crazy sexual hangups. I go to a gym where any make under 25 lives in mortal fear of someone seeing then clothesless. They can get dressed under a towel with perfect precision.
    I’m not sure how our society has gone so nuts, but for a male not be allowed to remove his shirt and for someone to lose their job over it, it pure insanity.
    Bring me back to the days where skinny dipping during the summer was a welcome pleasure.

    • nathon

      Isn’t that funny? We get more and more sex on TV, in the movies, and even in the news, we have more kids having sex at younger ages, and we tell people to love their bodies. However, when it comes to actually being our normal selves, we are shunned, chastised, and chided. You are right, back in the day kids could go skinny dipping, now you will get arrested and possibly land on the sex offender registry if there were any other underage people with you. I understand not forcing kids to get undressed in front of others if you aren’t comfortable, but c’mon, if these kids are ok with it and it’s not obscene.. let it go.

    • Steve

      Skinny dipping nowadays with get your name on a sex offender list.

  • happy

    golly gee…hope they don’t have a swim team…then again, maybe they should be checking to make sure their kids don’t go shirtless on the Cape. Bottom line…I guess the skins and shirts scrimmages are gone too. Does wearing sun blok count as a dressing?

  • brown

    Somebody fire Karl, he apparently has power and control issues!

    • nathon

      Obviously, this AD sounds like the issue. You now have 2 coaches that have had a “heated” confrontation with the AD and on multiple occasions. Why is it that these people keep their jobs. Oh that’s right, because he is probably buddy with someone higher up(i.e. principals or superintendent).

      First, the lack of clear communication(written) with the players, coaches, parents, and staff is a true lack of leadership from the Superintendent down. Second, the confrontational approach and history of the AD arguing with coaches in front of players is a lack of leadership. Finally, firing a coach on the spot in front of his students and the super’s lack of response is a clear sign that this school district is completely unprofessional. Parents need to be more involved and question a lot of things that may be going on in this school.

      • John C

        This AD, Karl Fogel, also assaulted a student in 2008. I wonder why the school district would keep someone who:
        – Assaulted a child in 2008
        – Got into heated discussions with the previous track coach
        – Verbally assaulted a student who wore no shirt during practice
        – Physically confronted the current track coach

        I guess maybe the school district will wait until he really hurts someone then do something.

  • sloopjohnB2

    Dear Cynthia,

    It WAS girls from the track team who reported the boys with no shirts on to the female Principal. Mr. Fogel was ordered by the Principal to discipline those without shirts on. Very poor leadership shown by the administration. Sad to think that she will soon be the next Asst. Supt. Very poor judgement. Boys have been swimming, playing basketball (shirts and skins), and running track for years w/o shirts. Get your heads out of the sand.

  • Bryan Waggoner

    Do they make the boys swim team wear shirts too??

  • Retired-teacher

    My son is a runner. At 40, he is still sponsored and money winner in races. Even while racing, he rarely wears a shirt. He has even raced shirtless in sub freezing weather. I see two possibilities to this incident. Either the AD or principal didn’t like Davis and wanted to create an incident that would justify his firing or someone wants to start a progression to a Sharia Law like school. Next we might see insisting that girls must wear long skirts, even in athletics.Will the students draw the line before cheerleaders are required to wear Burkas?

  • mike

    Fire the AD

  • Steve Kendall

    High school track runners are not allowed to run without shirts in meets, so they should wear them at practice as well. Not to mention, schools have dress codes, and these are supposed to enforced at sports as well. Of course, no one should have been fired over this either.

  • Proto Call

    Once agin, the liberals in administration of our schools prove that they are nothing more then mindless politiclally correct fools. Karl Fogel is a sick, gutlees, fool AND SHOULD BE FIRED. There is a difference between sexes and ithis isn’t a case for equality. And Fogel has a history of anger management issues.

  • Proto Call

    Cynthia, do the research…It was the girl’s team that made the complaint. You – are a fool stuck in a cesspool of political correctness

    • JB

      Where did it say the girl’s team complained? Not in this story….

  • Anonymous

    Well, in my opinion, I wouldn’t call them, “shirtless”. They are just wearing tank-tops. Should the coach really be fired just because of tank-tops? I think not. I read my sons school regulations, and they state, “tank-tops must be three finger width.” To me that looks more than three finger width.

  • Melinda Thompson

    Has anyone seen a tv commerical lately, like Axe? This is political correctedness gone overboard

  • JB

    It kind of reminds me of the critics of classic art who call it a form of “pornography.” At some poiint, if you’re looking at a statue of Venus de Millo and INSIST it be covered because it’s porn, perhaps it is YOU who have the wharped view of reality. YOU are the one who sees it as lewd and inappropriate.
    It’s kind of a parrallel to this A.D. … If he so INCESSANTLY and VIEMENTLY INSISTS that those boys having their shirts off is so absolutely offensive…. makes me wonder about HIM and HIS abilities to function as an effective director, and what is going on in HIS head when he sees these young men shirtless.

  • JB

    Yes PROTO CALL…. YES!!! Congrat’s on once again making it a “liberal conspiracy” issue. I LOVE IT!!! No…. there’s NO chance Fogel is just an overbearing d-bag who is on a power trip. NO! It’s a LIBERAL CONSPIRACY!!! Do you even get it ? Don’t you think it would be more like an ultra-conservative to find such great offense in shirtless young men ? OF COURSE they would? Who supports censorship ? Conservatives. Who rides the moral-majority? conservatives. I’m not saying which way the guy votes, nor do I think it matters. I DO, however, have absolutely NO doubt about your total inability to comprehend the political spectrum. Just sit back down and keep watching Glen Beck — cuz it’s real news, don’t ya know — and everytime something doesn’t go right just stand up and yell ‘DAMN LIBERALS!!” and continue to show the world your complete ignorance.

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