NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - There was a Sea of Orange at the New Hanover County Board of Education meeting Tuesday.
At least 100 New Hanover High School students, parents, and educators showed up wearing orange in support of baseball coach and teacher Richard Foy, who resigned last week.
Dozens spoke during public comment asking the board to deny Foy’s resignation. Ultimately, Foy remains an employee with the school system.
After a closed session, the school board released the following statement regarding Foy’s status:
“Conversations have been held with New Hanover High School Coach Richard Foy. Coach Foy remains an employee of New Hanover County Schools. His current employment status is suspension without pay effective through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Coach Foy is in agreement with this action.”
Students, parents, and former athletes all shared positive stories of Foy, talking about how he was always much more than a coach. They also hoped to send a message of love and support to Foy and his family.
“At the end we want to make sure Coach Foy knows he will not suffer reputational harm as a result of this circumstance,” said former NHHS parent John Barry.
Foy was served a criminal summons for misdemeanor assault in December 2019 after allegedly putting his hands around a student’s neck.
While Foy was not at the meeting, his attorney, Miriam Thompson was.
“A senior assistant district attorney with decades of experience handled the case,” she told the board. She reviewed the incident, she reviewed the evidence. She talked to the student involved, she talked to the student’s parents, she talked to me and she made a decision to offer Richard Foy what is called a deferred prosecution agreement. That means they believe this incident didn’t rise to the level of a criminal offense”
Foy was given 10 months of unsupervised probation and an order to have no contact with the student and was on paid administrative leave from his positions, but he chose to resign.
“I think he resigned because he’s looking for the path of least resistance for his family. This is not an easy circumstance, he’s 61-years-old. You don’t have that many years left and this was tearing up his family. He wanted to put this to rest for them,” Barry said.
Barry went on to tell a personal story about why he came out in support of Foy.
Barry said his 32-year-old daughter was given less than six weeks to live after being diagnosed with glioblastoma.
“Coach Foy gave us this baseball team. This baseball team came to our house and rearranged the furniture so we could set it up for hospice for her. She lasted 28 days. He organized the grey out game to benefit lung cancer and I proudly stood in her honor," said Barry, who’s son was no longer on Foy’s baseball team.