It’s rare that a coaching change at Revere High School (RHS) spills its way into the local political scene, but recently when popular Mail Carrier Rick Hayes was replaced as the head coach of the boy’s basketball team after six years, the controversy moved beyond the walls of the high school.
So much so that it has even been mentioned in political campaigns for City Council and School Committee – despite neither of those offices having any control over the issue.
Recently, Hayes ran a ‘Thank You’ advertisement in the Journal concerning his view of how he was treated before being replaced.
“After two months of being in limbo, (Athletic Director Shaun) Hart informed me that Revere High basketball was going in a different direction and wouldn’t be needing my services as head coach,” read the letter. “When I asked what direction that was, I was not given a definitive answer. My only question is if the boy’s basketball job went out to the (statewide) MIAA, why doesn’t every other coaching position do the same?”
This week, Athletic Director Shaun Hart addressed the many concerns around the coaching change and highlighted the new path for the basketball program that he said was decided upon by more voices than just his own.
Coaching positions in Revere are mandated to be advertised every three years – something that has been in place for a long time. When the high school followed that rule this spring for Hayes’s job, Hart said they were surprised to get 25 applicants for the position, and some were very intriguing.
He said he put together a committee of six local people connected to the high school, and who possessed good basketball knowledge.
That committee is not public, and Hart was not inclined to name them, but he did say they interviewed nine candidates.
Hayes was one of those candidates, but so also was Freshman Coach Adam Rizzo and Middle School basketball coach Chris Miller. There were six candidates from out of the district.
In the end, Hart said the committee unanimously chose to hire Clarzell Pearl, who is currently an assistant boy’s basketball coach at Charlestown High School.
It was not a decision that Hart made alone, he said.
“Of all the people who came in, everyone did well,” said Hart. “Rick is a great guy and he interviewed well. There is no ill will or bad intentions. I just think basketball had run its course. Had the committee been deadlocked at 3-3 and I was the deciding vote, it would be different. However, it was unanimous and technically, I didn’t even need to vote on this. It was a decision made by the committee – made up of local people – that was best for the students and the business of RHS. Everyone out there, though, wants to make it something else.”
Hart went on to say that he won’t defend himself at the expense of Hayes, despite the public criticism going against him.
“I’m not going to put Rick down to bring myself up,” he said. “I don’t need to be the good guy. No matter what I do or say, there will just be people out there who think I did this and that I did it because Rick didn’t win or didn’t do something right. There will be people who think this happened because I’m not a hometown guy and wanted to bring in another guy who also wasn’t a hometown guy. There are people who want to make this a him vs. him thing and that just isn’t the case.”
Hart said he did feel it was unfair to compare the basketball position to other coaching positions, such as football.
“There is that misconception out there,” he said. “People are thinking also it’s one sport vs. another sport. They’re different animals. You can’t treat every sport the same.”
Hart said the committee was very excited to hire Freshman Basketball Coach Adam Rizzo as the new Junior Varsity coach – and Pearl’s greatest asset in getting acclimated to the city and the players.
“We’re super excited to have Adam there,” said Hart. “He had applied for the head coach job and was very excited about getting more experience first at the JV level. He realized the competition level and he knew jumping from the Freshman Team to the Varsity was a big jump. Adam knows every basketball kid in this community and we felt it rather important to bring him on to cement the program.”
Pearl, who is a middle school teacher in Brighton, stuck out to the committee due to his experience as a player and a coach, Hart said. Pearl went to Boston English High School, where he was a two-sport star in football and basketball. He eventually earned a scholarship for both sports at Boston College. However, during his collegiate career, he transferred to Northeastern University, where he was a two-year starter on the basketball team and the quarterback of the football team. He also had a stint in professional football and basketball leagues in Germany.
He coached girl’s basketball at Dorchester High School from 2003 to 2009, and has been the assistant boy’s coach at Charlestown until hired in Revere.
“Clarzell grew up the same way as our kids do,” he said. “He was adamant about getting our kids opportunities to be seen by people. He believes there are so many kids that are out of these small urban schools like Revere that never get an opportunity to be seen by a college coach. He hopes to change that here.”