Laquon Treadwell's mother, insisting "I wasn't trying to get anybody fired," confirmed Friday she complained to Crete-Monee High School and District 210U administrators about athletic director Gene Cahan's decision to post unflattering photos of her son in a school hallway.
Cahan cited those photos as the reason he was removed during a Monday board meeting from the AD post he held for eight years. But, details emerged Friday of another incident that brought him unwanted attention from the board.
In March 2012, Crete-Monee was supposed to host a youth basketball tournament. Then-girls basketball coach Danny Wafford said Friday he cleared the event through Cahan.
"Then, a couple of days before the tournament, we were told that the district didn't approve it," Wafford, an administrative assistant in the dean's office at Thornridge High School, said. "I can tell you I was furious. Having 60-plus teams coming for a tournament, then finding out we can't have it — it was embarrassing to me."
North American Youth Sports director John Debeck said the organization was forced to move its event, for boys and girls grades five to 12, at the 11th hour to Eisenhower High School in Blue Island.
"We talked to the coach, the AD. They passed the buck around to each other," Debeck said Friday from the group's Green Bay, Wis., offices. "We were extremely peeved. … It was a big cluster you-know-what."
He said the potential cost to Crete-Monee from lost concessions and ticket sales was between $1,000 and "five figures."
"Easily," he said. "You've got all these schools who are hurting … and these guys are throwing money out the window."
Cahan said Friday he was docked three days pay over the incident. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, 210U Superintendent John Rodgers said Cahan's ouster didn't owe only to the Treadwell photo incident, adding, "it was more involved than that. … It's not just one thing."
"That's funny," Cahan said. "I was told it basically was that one thing."
In her first interview with a media outlet since Cahan was relieved of the AD post, Tami Treadwell expressed dismay that Cahan would choose to display a Tribune article that she said "wasn't anything to be proud of."
The story was accompanied by a photo of her son showing the blue-chip wide receiver being kissed on each cheek by two coeds during a recruiting trip to Mississippi, and another of his hand on a pile of cash. Both photos were originally posted on social media by Laquon Treadwell.
A reporter approached Treadwell on National Letter of Intent signing day to discuss the photos, which his mother said embarrassed him. Seeing the story posted in a case reserved for athletic highlights further embarrassed Treadwell, she said.
"A teacher called me and asked me if I had talked to Quon, because he seemed upset. He said the look on Quon's face was like he wanted to cry," Tami Treadwell said.
Tami Treadwell said Laquon told her he first asked the athletic department secretary to remove the photo, but she said she didn't have the key for the case. Cahan arrived during that conversation, she said, and had to be asked three times to remove the photo. Upon doing so, he allegedly told Laquon, "I thought you wanted everyone to see this."
"Quon said he basically laughed in his face," Tami Treadwell said.
Cahan disputed virtually every aspect of Treadwell's version of events.
"That is just not true," he said. "I was told Laquon sent another student to ask the secretary to take the photo down. … I was never approached by Laquon except the one time — and this is all on video. He approached me in the hallway, I went inside my office to get the key, I took it down immediately."
Cahan conceded, in hindsight, posting the article was a poor choice.
"If I had to do it over again, would I? Of course I wouldn't," Cahan said. "But I the way I came at it was Laquon said he was goofing around, he never took any money from Ole Miss, it was all in fun."