Katonah wrestling coach under scrutiny says he won't leave his position without a fight

Swertfager says he's been battling to stay on board as coach for the last year and a half.

News 12 Staff

Nov 4, 2022, 12:13 AM

Updated 563 days ago


A wrestling coach in the Katonah-Lewisboro School District, who is facing accusations of inappropriate touching, took to the mat Thursday night to defend his position.
A board meeting was held to decide if coach Bill Swertfager, who works at John Jay High School, will keep his job.
He told News 12 that he was recently notified that he is not going to be brought back as the men's wrestling coach.
Swertfager said he's been battling to stay on board as coach for the last year and a half.
He said he was reported for slapping a softball player on the buttocks as encouragement during a game.
He said this is common in sports, but this incident involved a young woman.
Swertfager said the student and her family did not find it to be offensive or to be harassment.
"In my mind it was basically nothing. In their mind it was more than that. We're not seeing eye to eye," Swertfager said.
Swertfager asked the school board not to dismiss him from coaching duties as they've been planning.
"It's humbling to see everyone here. I'll never forget this moment," he said.
Several John Jay wrestlers showed up to support Swertfager, who they said is a role model.
"He's affected my life personally. I know he's affected the lives of countless others who have gone through the wrestling program," said team captain Cameron Wierl.
Swertfager has been coaching several sports over the last 40 years in the community and said he's not leaving without a fight.
"My morals, my values, my ethics, I'll put it up against anybody. I just can't have that hurt. That's kind of what this is all about right now," he said.
The testimony from supporters was tearful at times.
They begged that the board at least table the issue to take time to think about what people said.

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