Nyack school board decides to strike baseball coach's name amid allegations against assistant coach

Lucy Yang Image
Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Controversy leads school to scrap late baseball coach's name from field
Lucy Yang has the story.

NYACK, New York (WABC) -- Dave Siegriest was a beloved varsity basketball baseball coach at Nyack High School.

His name sits high on the scoreboard; a scholarship and memorial tournament herald his memory. He died in 2006 from cancer.

"David was a good man, who did good things," said Margaret Siegriest, Dave's widow. "He devoted his life to Nyack public schools and Nyack baseball program."

Tuesday night, the school board listened to passionate and painful testimonies about whether or not to cancel his legacy.

Some former students said sexual abuse on the team was the worst kept secret at school.

"I was a child and I still figured it out," said one person reading on behalf of a former softball player. "I'm stating unequivocally that David Siegrist knew there was an inappropriate relationship between his player and assistant coach."

At the epicenter of this community's outrage is the assistant coach Peter Recla.

The two men ran the team side by side for more than two decades.

A few years ago, a former player came forward to accuse Recla of sexual abuse during the student's four years in high school.

The question for many at the school is whether Siegriest, as head coach, knew? Did he turn a blind eye? Did he silence victims and others who spoke up?

"We categorically and emphatically deny he had any prior knowledge of any transgressions of Recla," said Siegriest's brother-in-law.

After hearing more than an hour of emotional testimonies, the board voted Tuesday night to remove the coach's name.

Matt De Simone spent four years on the varsity team and was captain during his senior year. He believes you can be a good coach, but still fall terribly short.

"Two things can be true at once," he said. "I know he was great guy, great husband. But he failed us big time in this particular area."

Of course, the one person who can testify as to what he knew is no longer alive.

As for the assistant coach, Recla has never been charged.


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