(2-13-19) At the February Harlem Board of Education’s monthly meeting made it official when they hired new football coach Robert Moynihan. Moynihan replaces Jim Morrow who stepped down shortly after the conclusion of this past football season.
Moynihan spent the previous five seasons at Zion-Benton leading the Zee-Bees to their first playoff spot in 15 years in 2018.
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Looking for a fresh start at Harlem could be based on Moynihan’s five year stay at Zion-Benton, which was not a pleasant one.
In June of 2016, the Zion-Benton school board voted 4-3 to remove Moynihan from his position as head football coach after a run-in with one of the BOE members over alleged playing time for her son.
In July (2016) the board overturned that decision and rehired Moynihan in a 6-1 vote.
The decision to rehire Moynihan was followed by the coach filing a federal lawsuit n October of 2016. The lawsuit claimed that board member (at the time of the firing) Linda Powell had pressured Moynihan to play her son more, when that did not happen, Powell attempted to have him fired as head football coach. Also included in the filing, Powell’s actions caused Moynihan to suffer a heart attack, to fear for his life, and the attempt to have him fired caused him “severe emotional distress” resulting in depression and anxiety.
A settlement, which was finalized in court in September of 2017, included a payment of $70,000 to the Moynihans to be paid by the district’s insurance company and no admission of wrongdoing.
Powell in August (2017) resigned her seat and moved out of the district.