The “Executive” Conundrum

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In the pre-coronavirus era, the hottest sports debate over the last couple years in the Lehigh Valley swirled around the new school, Executive Education Academy Charter School.

The Raptors were accused of allegedly taking top-tier players from other Lehigh Valley school districts…a charge that resulted in a public hearing.

While EEACS was not found guilty nor made any formal retributions, the local governing sports body (District XI) did recommend that some changes needed to be made by the academy to their “recruiting” practices, with a warning that penalties might be issued if they chose not to follow the suggestions.

This did not sit well with many surrounding school districts, who felt there was clearly enough evidence to warrant formal sanctions.

The result?

Not one Lehigh Valley basketball team had ever scheduled the school for any regular-season game the last few school years (prior to this current COVID-filled school year).

In fact, in its first year, the Raptors won the District XI 2A title without playing a single team from the Valley until the championship game.  Ironically, Executive Education Academy’s championship victory came over another “non-boundary” school, Moravian Academy.

While a few schools did play Executive this past basketball season, the common reason was, because of all the limitations placed on a number of school districts due to COVID, opponents were sometimes few and far between.  Most administrators and coaches have remained mum about the possibility of adding or resuming games with EEACS in the future.

In a completely separate news story, Allen High School anointed Randy Atiyeh as the school’s new athletic director a few months back.  A long-time assistant basketball coach and a tireless worker in the community, Randy was an obvious choice to take over the position and, so far this year, has done a tremendous job in that role.

But this hiring set up an intriguing decision for local sports fans now to ponder.

One of Atiyeh’s closest friends is former Parkland High School basketball standout player, Toomey Anderson, who is officially the assistant athletic director and a key figure at Executive Education Academy’s basketball program.  Both Atiyeh and Anderson have been co-directors of one of the annual summer basketball tournaments at Cedar Beach in Allentown–the same event that has seen most local schools drop out of competition because of Anderson’s involvement with the Raptors.

Furthermore, Allen’s new boys’ basketball Head Coach is Darnell Braswell, who is good friends with another former Canary great, Ray Barbosa – the boys’ basketball Head Coach at, you guessed it … Executive Education Academy.

The immediate question surrounding the Allen High School sports program now becomes, will Atiyeh break the unanimous, yet unofficial union of the local schools by putting the Raptors on the Canaries’ schedule in future seasons?

We asked Randy and Darnell that very question on a recent edition of “SportsTalk.”

Here is a portion of Atiyeh’s answer.

RCN customers can get more of Randy’s response, plus Darnell’s reaction and more of their opinions by watching the entire interview though RCN’s Video-on-Demand.  And keep checking back to our “SportsTalk” show for news and analysis as this story continues to evolve for future seasons.

Chris Michael About Chris Michael

Chris handles play-by-play for RCN sports events, including baseball, football & basketball games and produces/hosts the station’s 60-minute live call-in show. Among Chris’s other responsibilities include reporting on local news & sports stories, conducting “Take 5” interviews with community and political leaders, producing commercials, voiceovers and promos; and generating blog entries and videos on the internet. Click here to listen to the weekly Sports Talk podcast.

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