Lacrosse Programs Caught Up In Player’s Suit Against Coach

Billy Munck is a midfielder for Southwestern University. The 20-year-old alleges he was denied varsity status at ESD because he didn’t take part in his coach’s high-dollar training programs.

A former ESD student is suing the school’s former lacrosse coach, claiming Kevin Barnicle punished the boy when his family refused to support the coach’s side business.

Barnicle is now Greenhill’s head coach and a director at Coast 2 Coast Lacrosse, which offers high-end camps, training, and recruitment services for young athletes. Other directors have led teams at Highland Park, Allen, Coppell, and Plano West high schools, as well as SMU.

Attorneys for Billy Munck, who left ESD in 2010 after his junior year, say Barnicle and C2C founder and director John Marano were negligent, putting their own interests before that of their players and clients, and — in Barnicle’s case — refusing to let the teen officially play on ESD’s varsity team because he didn’t buy into expensive training programs. That, and Munck’s father, William, volunteered for a popular lacrosse nonprofit that drew potential customers away from C2C.

“There’s nothing wrong with making a living,” the elder Munck said of for-profit sports organizations, but “coaching is a profession of love … and if you don’t love your players, you shouldn’t be coaching.”

His son, a Type 1 diabetic, wasn’t the only child jilted by C2C, he added. “There were other kids from other families who were told, ‘Get in line or be punished.’ ”

Munck is a partner at Munck Wilson Mandala, the firm representing Billy through lead attorney Jamil Alibhai. Another lawyer for the plaintiff, Charla Aldous, won a multi-million-dollar verdict against ESD in 2011, when she represented a student who was expelled after an affair with a teacher.

The group has yet to name a dollar amount sought in the lacrosse lawsuit, which was filed in mid-February and is still gathering steam.

Colin Dunham, attorney for Barnicle and Marano, says the Muncks’ claims are simply revenge for not promoting Billy — who’s now 20 and playing Division III lacrosse at Southwestern University — to ESD’s varsity team.

That the boy was singled out “is the furthest thing from the truth,” Durham said. “[Barnicle] didn’t care one way or another whether Billy or anyone else participated” in C2C. Billy “had skill,” he added, “but he was lacking in strength and size when he was in high school.”

The plaintiff’s petition mentions Kirk Ventiquattro, a school and elite-team coach in New York who helped Billy hone his skills for at least five summers. Ventiquattro doesn’t “have any reference to how the other players were” at ESD, he cautions, “but I remember scratching my head,” he said, when he heard Billy hadn’t made varsity.

Though the lawsuit notes C2C stood to gain $4,000 to $5,000 per player through instructional fees, camps, gear, and other expenses, Barnicle “was getting a flat fee,” Durham explained, “whether one person showed up or 200 people showed up.” High-school coaches often run elite teams and training programs on the side, he said, but only a small fraction of Muncks’ varsity-bound teammates actually took part in C2C; most customers actually hail from Highland Park, Plano West, Southlake, and other North Texas schools.

In any case, “Barnicle’s actions were intentional actions,” Billy’s father said, “that were not condoned by ESD.”

Durham and his clients have a different take.

“We believe ESD had a duty to defend Kevin Barnicle,” Durham said, adding later that the school — from which Barnicle resigned, he said, after getting a better offer from Greenhill — “left Kevin in the lurch.”

A general statement from ESD notes that because the school isn’t a party in the lawsuit, “it would be inappropriate to comment on the allegations.”

And those allegations aren’t limited to Barnicle. Among other things, the Muncks allege that Marano — the C2C founder —invented his own credentials, including a colorful past as an All-American college player at St. John’s University. But Marano was never involved in the school’s lacrosse program, as a St. John’s spokesman confirmed. What’s more, the lawsuit describes him admitting under oath that he never even attended college.

Marano “may have inflated his experience,” Durham allowed. “But we don’t think he lied. We don’t think he blatantly misrepresented anything.”

A trial date has not been set for the case. As for the possibility of settling beforehand, Durham said, “there’s a theory about wanting to ‘buy your peace,’ even if you don’t think you’re in the wrong. We’ve asked for numbers, and they haven’t provided those for us.”

By Georgia Fisher Apr. 19, 2013 | 6:10 am | 19 Comments | Comments RSS
  • laxenthusiast

    Kirk Ventiquattro is the HoF HS coach of the Powell brothers, Casey, Ryan and Mikey, among others (

  • Avid Reader

    How embarassing for everyone involved.

  • XT

    Marano “may have inflated his experience,” Durham allowed. “But we don’t think he lied.”

    Hilarious. How exactly is that not lying? For a guy that’s been somewhat of a bully, and thrown his experience in everyone’s face, Marano sure is getting his due.

  • PR

    Sounds to me like the kid was not good enough to play and his dad was upset enough to sue. This kid will continue to be a bust if his family continues to enable his mediocrity. It is ok to play sports and be average as long as you learn team work and commitment. This kid will never understand that concept. FYI…most of the students who beat him out for a varsity spot play D1 and continue to dominate. His current coach needs to learn from this and play this kid the entire game if he doesn’t want to get sued by his lawyer dad.

  • PR

    Why do comments keep disappearing from this feed?

  • Lax mom

    John Marano lied about his going to college and playing college lacrosse. He has made a business of running other programs out of town by calling them liars. I know for a fact that he banned a 10 year old boy from playing c2c because that boy played for another smaller team. He threatened 2 other boys that caved and played for c2c. I can’t comment on the merit of this lawsuit but I’m happy that it is bringing to light the other unfair and unsportsmanlike behavior of c2c and John Marano.

  • Dan Koller

    We also published this story in Preston Hollow People. The following comments were left on that paper’s website, in a spot where they will be hard for anyone to see. So here they are:

    — — —

    What kind of a publication is this? It is common knowledge that the Munck Family is known their repetitive harrassment tactics until they get what they want. Check the facts before printing this garbage.

    — — —

    You should be ashamed of yourselves for publishing a completely one-sided story on the Munck-Barnicle lawsuit. Did you even attempt to understand the story or get any facts from the other side? You simply took the word of a plaintiff whose primary objective seems to be to smear the reputation of one of the truly exceptional high school coaches in the area. Get the facts before publishing such rubish.

  • lacrosse parent

    Not surprised that C2C’s pattern of questionable integrity and not delivering what they promise has caught them up in a lawsuit. Lacrosse is a great sport but character has to be part of any program.

  • Avid Reader

    Seems like it would be pretty easy to track down whether this coach lied about his credentials.

  • Miley W.

    A portion of the comments moved from PHP blog are still showing up on that blog’s “Recent Comments” section with a dead link.

  • LaxLover

    Someone should ask Steven Kravit, Plano West Boys Lacrosse Coach & Board member, C2C participant and candidate for PISD school board, what he knows about this . . , and whether his interest in being on the PISD School Board is All The Kids or only the kids who play for Plano West Lacrosse and C2C?

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  • http://Yahoo BennySaidSo

    EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ: Newest Suit Filed and Includes HP Coaches

    HP parents, better wise up and get informed. Bad things happening here too and you parents have the right to step in and clean up the mess by clearing out the Board of Directors and insisting on better leadership of coaches. Parents had better do it before the incoming president for the HP league takes office. Contact US Lacrosse with your concerns. Take charge of your players future. Another comment above question John Marano’s bio he had lied on, someone should check a member of the HP board of directors bio as well, don’t think he truly attended the college he has told many many he did and he is coaching the youth/younger of HP also.

    Is the attorney, Durham, listed in the article above this comment the same Durham who has a son on D1 and is he representing one or two of the HP D1 coaches listed in this new suit filed March 25th?

  • rabblerouser
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  • Nat Turner

    These rich kids play lacrosse because they aren’t good enough to play the other more common sports. It’s a waste of time anyway. Go study. Adult Careers aren’t based on playing boys games

  • Tony

    Mr. Turner you are way off. My sons high school team is made up of 95% football players from the high school. Just another way to stay in shape and keep the competitive juices flowing. Just because you do not understand something it doesn’t make it a waste of time. Most of the lacrosse players i know have great grades and are at the top of their class. I wish some of the basketball team would be like that.

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