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Removed Coach Tolle Speaks Out, Couch Declines Comment

The now-terminated Chesapeake wrestling coach said a student brought alcohol to a wrestling tournament, but was later kicked off the team.

UPDATE (10:07 a.m.)—A month after varsity wrestling coach Paul Tolle was removed from his position, the coach is seeking closure in the form of a letter emailed to community members.

Tolle, along with Chesapeake athletic director Chip Snyder,  on Jan. 9 amid an investigation into parent concerns of unsafe student behavior at a December wrestling tournament.

Tolle sent out an email over the weekend in which he tried to explain the events he felt led to his termination as wrestling coach. In the letter, Tolle also thanked those who have .

“I am writing this in hopes of accomplishing several goals. First, and foremost, to bring closure to the events that caused my termination and Chip’s suspension,” Tolle wrote. “Secondly, to enlighten all those who have almost blindly supported me, as well as Chip, and our families. Lastly, to assure everyone this was not a one-time incident of any great magnitude.”

Tolle wrote that he felt the motive for his termination came from Chesapeake’s former wrestling coach, who Tolle identified as Rick Couch. Tolle said that he felt as though Couch, along with a small group of people who were unhappy Couch was not reinstated as Chesapeake’s wrestling coach this season, set out to have Tolle fired.

Tolle wrote: “You see, what was hidden from most people was the agenda of a small band of people from the moment that I was hired and former coach, Rick Couch, was not retained. This small group, including Couch, set out for vindication, revenge, and destruction. To the naked eye, they have succeeded. I, on the other hand, refused to ever make this a Rick Couch vs. Paul Tolle issue. Sadly, it has now come to that.”

Reached at his home phone Monday by Patch, Couch declined comment when read Tolle's accusations.

In the letter, Tolle answered some of the burning questions many have had since this investigation began. These questions are centered around the details into the unsafe student behavior that took place at the December tournament.

Tolle wrote that a student brought alcohol to The War on the Shore tournament, but insisted that the student was disciplined and removed from the team after the incident.

Tolle also spoke of a field trip form that he never filled out for the tournament.

“Unofficially, I do know that rumors and allegations arose that Chip failed to have me complete a field trip form of which neither he, nor I, had any knowledge,” Tolle wrote. “I also know that four of the five schools attending the ‘War on the Shore’ knew the same or less, because they never filed this form.”

After the incidents at the War on the Shore tournament, Tolle said on Jan. 9 he received a call from Chesapeake High School principal Frank Drazan, in which he stated, “Practice was cancelled; I was no longer the wrestling coach; and that I needed someone to retrieve any personal property from school because I was not allowed on school property.”

Tolle wrote that after the phone call, he received a letter saying his contract as head wrestling coach had been terminated.

When initial news of the investigation broke, Anne Arundel County schools spokesman Bob Mosier said both coaches were removed, not fired, pending an investigation. Tolle wrote in the letter multiple times that he was terminated. Snyder remains a physical education teacher at the school, but is still removed from the athletic director position.

Reached by phone Tuesday morning, Mosier declined to comment on the letter.

“We’re going to continue to conduct the investigation that we’re conducting and when that investigation is concluded, we’ll arrive at a decision,” Mosier said Tuesday.

Tolle initially asked that his letter be published in its entirety, but due to the sensitivity of the matter, and the students in question, Patch could not run the entire letter. Tolle said parts of the letter could be used in this post.

Tolle insisted the purpose of the letter was to bring closure to the incident, and to shed light on the many unanswered questions.

Tolle concluded his letter saying, “So, as for me, this is a closed chapter. No one will ever take away the positive impact I have had on student-athletes, and more importantly, the impact that they have had on me. They will not destroy my family, my friendships, or my Cougar Pride.

“I beg of everyone who reads this, please do me two favors. Support Chip until he is vindicated and placed back into CHS as teacher, coach, and Athletic Director. Secondly, enact no revenge; harbor no anger; and if it is your belief, as it is mine, drop to your knees and pray for both the CHS sports program and those who have attempted to destroy it.”

Tolle wrote that Chip Snyder had nothing to do with the contents of the letter and was not consulted during the writing process.

Sugarloaf February 06, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Thank goodness! Maybe it will be the end of this public drama fest.
Charlene Kamsch February 06, 2012 at 10:01 PM
From this article some questions are not answered>>>> Was he fired from AACoPS or not?? Is he a teacher and a coach, usually they are and only his coaching job was affected ?? WHEN were the offending students (plural) "disciplined and removed from the team after the incident"? Was it after the tournament, Monday at school, Jan 9, or at the very moment the incident was found out? Was the students parents called when this incident happened? According to student handbook for alcohol first offense the student is suspended AND police notified--was he and were they???? Seems to be a principles job or higher up, not a coaches job to discipline. I'm sorry, but the incomplete facts written in the article leave a lot to be desired. What the article states to me is that the coaches were treated as scapegoats for someone higher in authority. Ok, so it happened while on a wrestling trip, it isn't a coaches job to discipline--just like it isn't the principles job to coach (or he would have had practice on Jan 9 and not cancelled it). Writer: Treat every article written as if it was a court case for not every reader has read EVERY article written on the subject to know all of the facts. Hope you get your job back-it didn't sound like you lost it to me nor did you get any kind of review or appeal choice. Yes, I am a parent of a CHS student......
Kaitlyn Carr February 06, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Charlene, thanks for your comments. According to Tolle, he was fired from AACPS, calls to a schools spokesman seeking confirmation to this were not returned. Here is the link to the original article, included in the story, that says Tolle was not a teacher at the school, just the coach. http://patch.com/A-qb6M This article was written based on the information in the letter, which said the student was disciplined after the tournament. Nothing about a student handbook was mentioned. We will continue to update the article as more information becomes available. Thank you for reading.
Cindy Bryl February 07, 2012 at 01:44 PM
If I were a betting person, I would put all my holdings down that AACPS will never make mention of this incident again. It will get swept under the rug with all the other skeletons of coach's and students of yore. AACPS does not care about the "little people" of which it represents, it cares about making it through another day without a law suit. Never will AACPS stand up for what is right or dignified but rather continue to amble through mediocrity when it comes to education and character development of our children. Unfortunately, the 'little people' like Mr. Tolle and Mr. Snyder do care about the education and character of our children and raising them to their highest levels yet they have been treated like criminals while anonymous cowards are given the treatment of dignitaries. Sad on so many levels. I applaud Mr. Tolle for closing this chapter in his life. While I do not know you, I know that the prayers you offer up will be answered in the hearts of those who believe.
Cindy Bryl February 07, 2012 at 01:47 PM
As for you Chip Snyder, NOTHING can TARNISH the blue and GOLD reputation and legacy you have built through hard work and dedication to the student athletes at Chesapeake High School. My heart and Prayers go out to you and your family. I believe you will find your way through this and on to bigger and better things at CHS AND beyond.
Kaitlyn Carr February 07, 2012 at 03:04 PM
To clarify, only one call was made to AACPS, not multiple "calls" as I wrote above. I apologize for the error. Patch spoke to Mosier this morning and will update the article.
brewcrew February 09, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Was there a follow up article about your phone call to the BOE, on Tuesday 2-7-12? I think I might have missed it.
Kaitlyn Carr February 09, 2012 at 05:02 PM
brewcrew - Thanks for your comment. There wasn't a separate article written about the phone call with the BOE. We just added the quote into this story: Reached by phone Tuesday morning, Mosier declined to comment on the letter. “We’re going to continue to conduct the investigation that we’re conducting and when that investigation is concluded, we’ll arrive at a decision,” Mosier said Tuesday.
brewcrew February 09, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Thank you Ms. Carr, you are always keeping us updated on all the events around Pasadena. I enjoy following ALL your positive work and messages.

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