April 05, 2020
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Former Maine basketball star leaves Florida school after ‘terrible’ comments by his coach

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Taylor Schildroth (right) gets by Hall-Dale High School's Josh Nadeau during the Maine Class C Boys Basketball Championship game in this March 3, 2018, file photo.

Taylor Schildroth didn’t plan on being back home in Blue Hill this weekend.

He also did not expect to hear what he heard on social media the other night.

Schildroth, the former three-time Bangor Daily News All-Maine guard from George Stevens Academy, was spending this year as a reclassified senior at The Nation Christian Academy in Port St. Lucie, Florida. There, he was playing on the basketball team in hopes of continuing his athletic career in college next fall at the scholarship level.

Those plans were sidetracked, at least temporarily, after Schildroth heard an audio clip of the Nation Christian Academy’s CEO — a Waterville native and longtime former club basketball coach in Maine — berating one of his teammates in a profanity-laced tirade that quickly went viral after becoming public Tuesday night.

Schildroth decided to leave the school the next day.

“I had heard about the argument before from living in the same house, but that was the first time I’d really heard the whole audio and listened to the whole thing,” Schildroth said. “That definitely caught me off guard. It was a heated argument, but he was saying some pretty terrible things.

“By Wednesday I knew I definitely wanted to come home and not be in a situation with a coach like that.”

Nation Christian Academy CEO Mike “Woody” Woodbury was heard in the recording lashing out at Marvens Petion, a player who was planning to leave the program. He eventually transferred to West Oaks Academy in Orlando, Florida.

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The tirade has drawn outrage from throughout the basketball community nationwide on social media as well as from many of those who had played for him on the Maine AAU circuit before he relocated to Florida in recent years.

Among statements in the three-minute audio clip — which Woodbury said occurred on Oct. 17 in a Twitter statement he issued that in part offered an apology “for the vulgar language that was used” — he threatened to send Petion “back to Haiti.”

“I control transcripts, I control where you go next. It could be Haiti, [expletive]. That’s how easy it is for me.”

Petion had moved to the United States from Haiti at age 15.

According to a report published at sportingnews.com another member of the basketball team, Idrissa Bivens, also left the school because of the situation involving Woodbury.

Woodbury, who remains at the school, sat down for an interview on Wednesday, his 43rd birthday, with Joe Santucci of Treasure Coast Newspapers. He said his “heart aches” about his interaction with Petion, who had lived with Woodbury for nearly a year.

Woodbury said he feels awful that the incident exploits Petion. He was relatively unapologetic about his use of profanity during his meeting with the student.

“I’m pretty vulgar. It doesn’t make it right,” he said.

“It was right, in my opinion, for the situation and that’s how I felt about it and I still feel that way about it.”

Schildroth initially wrote of his decision to leave Nation Christian Academy in a Twitter post Wednesday while waiting for a connecting flight between New York and Boston on his way back to Maine.

“As many of you have probably seen, a video has surfaced with audio recording of a coach at the Nation Christian Academy. The things said on this video are terrible and completely against what I believe in. Because of this incident I have decided to return home to find a place better suited for my academic and athletic goals,” Schildroth wrote.

“The plan will always be to play basketball at the highest level possible and this incident will not stop me from doing so. I wish the best to the rest of [the] players and staff at NCA as this matter is being handled and solved,” he continued

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