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Former Garden City baseball coach drops lawsuit for $24G

Rich Smith was the varsity coach at Garden City for 44 years.

Rich Smith surveys the field during a game

Rich Smith surveys the field during a game against Carey at Garden City High School on Monday, May 9, 2016. Photo Credit: James Escher

Former longtime Garden City High School baseball coach Rich Smith agreed to drop his federal age-discrimination lawsuit against the school district in exchange for $24,000, according to the settlement agreement obtained by Newsday.

Smith, 75, who is Long Island’s second-winningest baseball coach, also agreed to never pursue another job in the district as part of the deal.

The 10-page settlement agreement, obtained by Newsday from the school district via a Freedom of Information Law request, includes a confidentiality clause that bars either side from publicly discussing the arrangement.

A spokesperson for the district declined to comment. Robert Sullivan, Smith’s Garden City-based attorney, said he could not discuss the settlement because of the confidentiality clause. Smith did not return a message seeking comment.

Smith filed an age-discrimination lawsuit in federal court in Central Islip in March 2017 and named the district, then-superintendent Robert Feirsen and athletic director Dawn Cerrone as defendants. In his lawsuit, Smith alleged that his annual contract as baseball coach was not renewed following the 2016 school year because of his age.

Smith had been the varsity coach at Garden City for 44 years and a coach at the school since 1967.

Smith and the district reached a settlement agreement in December, which was approved by the district board of education in January. The board’s public notice of the approved settlement agreement did not specifically cite the case or mention its terms.

Smith’s record of 667-386-18 makes him Long Island’s second winningest coach behind Division’s Doug Robins’ 695.

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