NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A beloved high school basketball coach in Queens says he’s been fouled by his own employer.
He claims he’s been forced to move out of his office filled with a lifetime of memories.
As Ron Naclerio sat in his Bayside, Queens basement, he was surrounded by trophies and awards from nearly 40 years as Benjamin Cardoza High School’s boys basketball coach.
He told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez that the real shrine to his achievements and those of his players are hanging in his office at the school.
“Everybody wanted to be on that wall. So a picture or a newspaper article, a kid in college would give me that picture and we would start putting it up,” the longtime coach said.
It is an impressive sight – articles and pictures covering nearly every inch of the walls and ceiling.
But now, school principal Meagan Colby is kicking Naclerio out of his office to make room for a new ROTC program.
“They needed space now and she looked around couldn’t find a spot. When push came to shove I was the person that got the ‘adios amigos.’”
Naclerio says it’s an end of a tradition, where many hoop dreams found their roots. Celebrated on the walls are basketball greats who thrived with the help of the Queens coach’s guidance.
The list includes 1985 Cardozo graduate Duane Causwell, who was a first-round draft pick for the Sacramento Kings in 1990.
Royal Ivey played for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Atlanta Hawks, and is now an assistant coach for the New York Knicks.
Also tacked on the wall is this thank you letter from Martin Luther King to Naclerio’s surgeon father, thanking him for saving his life after a 1958 stabbing.
By the end of the week, all of these memories will come down.
CBS2 reached out to Principal Colby to see if the school was considering a plan b, but we’re told she was not commenting for the press.
The school released a statement on the matter Monday night:
“Sports have a transformative power for our students. We value the work Coach Naclerio does for student athletes and we have offered him another office and given him access to his current space to safely move his belongings. We understand the importance of providing coaches with the resources they need, and will continue working with the coach as we have done since the start of the school year.”
Naclerio says the new office he’s moving into is much smaller, but the impact he’s made as a coach can never be taken away.