Even by dysfunctional Atlantic City governmental standards, this one is hard to figure?

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small and Atlantic City Superintendent of Public Schools La’Quetta Small are a husband/wife duo who are both graduates of Stockton University.

Yet, The Small’s have significantly hurt both the Stockton rowing and hockey teams over the past two years.

The elusive answer is, why?

Stockton University has a national caliber rowing program.

Yet, The Small’s unceremoniously kicked Stockton University out of the Atlantic City Boathouse.

The boathouse was only rarely used and there was simply no reason to do this.

Almost no events whatsoever were scheduled at the Atlantic City Boathouse when Small kicked Stockton University out.

At the time, I spent weeks trying to get a copy of the schedule of Atlantic City Boathouse events.

Atlantic City Board of Education Member John Devlin told me that it took so long “because there were almost no school events scheduled and they had to rush to put something together,” said Devlin at the time.

When I finally obtained a copy, here is what it looked like. FYI, This was the 4-month schedule at the time (March-June, 2022). Four of the scheduled events were for an outside organization.

Harry Hurley photo.
Harry Hurley photo.

Stockton University was very fortunate that Mayor Vince Sera, Brigantine City Council, The Brigantine Rowing Club and the City of Brigantine stepped right in and they literally saved Stockton's 2022-2023 rowing season.

Then Stockton University head rowing coach John Bancheri was the successful head women's coach was very complimentary regarding the "incredibly warm welcome by Mayor Vince Sera, former Mayor Guenther, and Kay Papandrew of the Brigantine Rowing Club," said Bancheri.

Further, Bancheri said that, “they immediately provided us with space and were thrilled to have us back, as we rowed out of the Brigantine Boathouse for years. That boathouse has erg machines, weight room, locker rooms, etc., and we could not be more appreciative of their hospitality," said Bancheri at the time.

Next, Marty Small struck again, and almost ruined the Stockton University men’s hockey season for failure to approve the Atlantic City Skate Zone ice rink contract with Stockton University.

I wrote a definitive editorial, criticizing and imploring Small to sign the agreement.

With one day to spare, Small sign the agreement and Stockton's ice hockey season was saved.

I followed-up with a written commentary praising Small for doing the right thing at the 12th hour.

The men's ice hockey team was off and running to a great 5-2 record ... winning against some real high quality teams along the way.

However, the small-minded Small struck, again. The Atlantic City Skate Zone banned Stockton University's head coach Alan Rhoads from the Atlantic City Skate Zone premises.

Small's actions basically succeeded in firing the Stockton head coach ... which Stockton University went on to do.

How could Stockton University retain a head coach who was not permitted to attend practices of home games? It was an untenable situation.

The Stockton University men's ice hockey team went 2-5 following the firing of head coach Rhoads.

To their credit, the Stockton University men’s hockey team rallied over the final six games of the regular season, going five and one.

But, a very promising season was destroyed.

Again, why?

There are no good answers.

This week, Rhoads filed a tort claim notice and exclusively confirmed to us that he will be suing the City of Atlantic City, State of New Jersey and Stockton University for his termination.

Stockton University has made a more than $ 260 million investment in Atlantic City with their Atlantic City campus.

Stockton University had been a great working partner. They took excellent care of the Atlantic City Boathouse and left it better than they found it.

Stockton University has made numerous improvements, donated equipment to the Atlantic City Public Schools, including: boats ($10,000 plus each), ergometers, providing elite training, and much more.

Because of Stockton University, Atlantic City is on its way to become a legitimate college town.

It is incumbent upon Marty and La’Quetta Small to step-up and begin to do the right thing by Stockton University.

SOURCES: John Devlin & Alan Rhoads.

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Gallery Credit: Harry Hurley


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