Coach Speaks Out About Problems at Hoboken Boys and Girls Club

After recent suspension, the longtime employee says he's doing it for the sake of the kids.

The Boys and Girls Club in Hoboken has serious issues, said longtime counselor and basketball coach Mike Mincey. He said there’s not enough building security, there are mouse droppings on the first floor and the Kool-Aid the kids drink is prepared in a storage closet that reeks of cleaning products.

“It just breaks my heart because we could be so much better,” said Mincey, 45, who was suspended from his job for a week earlier this winter. 

Mincey, a lifelong Jersey City resident, has worked at the Boys and Girls Club on Jefferson Street for 12 years. He was suspended from his job with pay for a week in early January, after a parent filed several complaints against him, he said.

After rules for the recreational basketball draft were changed, the parent’s teenaged son was not selected to be on Mincey’s team and was chosen for another team. When the boy came to pick his sister up at the club, Mincey asked him to wait in the game room, since Mincey’s team was practicing tactics the players would use against the boy’s team. “We laughed about it, me and him,” said Mincey. But the parent was not happy. She confronted Mincey in the club’s gym, multiple sources said, and the next day, filed the complaints, Mincey said.

“He’s good with the kids,” said Connie Viruet, a parent with two kids at the club. “He knows how to control them. He knows how to discipline them and punish them the right way and make sure they do well. They need that.”

Basketball practice was cancelled for the week Mincey was suspended. But he was welcomed back after an investigation into the incident by Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hudson County Gary Greenberg. Greenberg said he never lost his confidence in the coach and Mincey didn’t lose much that week. “The very next game, he was back,” said Greenberg. “So, they never really missed a beat in terms of games.”

Now that he’s back, Mincey—who coaches four basketball teams at the Boys and Girls club—said his suspension is not his reason for speaking out about problems he sees at the Boys and Girls Club.

In addition to his concerns about security and unsanitary conditions, Mincey said homework is no longer a focus at the club. “As an afterschool program, we should be dedicated to helping these kids with their education,” said Mincey. “That should be mandatory, but it’s not.”

After HoLa, a dual language charter school for kindergarten through third grade, started subleasing the second floor of the club almost two years ago, Mincey said the club kids lost the rooms where they used to do their homework. He said now they have to manage to concentrate in rooms where there are noisy activities happening at the same time.

“Kids do homework in the gym, in the game room, where there’s video games going on, music,” Mincey said. “There’s no isolated spot for them to do their homework.” The classrooms are still there, he added, but the desks are too small for many of the club kids. 

Greenberg countered that homework is still very important at the club, and that some clubs in Hudson County have a program called Power Hour, when all other activities shut down so the kids can do homework.

HoLa programs and activities have also taken gym time away from the club kids, said Mincey. “If they want to do PTA, if they want to do movie night, if they want to do anything, they can do it during our time,” he said. “Our time is from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. No one should be able to interrupt our time.” He added that when HoLa kids come into the gym during club hours, club kids have to move to one half of the court. Mincey said he has offered to include HoLa students in his basketball practices, but HoLa has refused.

“They don’t want to be with us,” said Mincey. “It’s like a separation of classes, I see. They don’t want their kids with our kids.”

President of HoLa’s Board of Trustees Jennifer Hindman Sargent said that’s not true and that one of HoLa’s employees even organized an afterschool theater program that included a few of the club kids. “We try to find ways to mix the groups in the afternoon," she said, "when it is feasible in terms of age groups and logistics.”

But, Hindman Sargent added, it’s more difficult than one might think. “There’s no time for casual mingling,” she said. “It has to be planned.”

Hindman Sargent said that HoLa kids are in the gym at the same time as club kids once a week during a physical education enrichment program the school organizes. The overlap is 30 minutes. She also said that the school created its own basketball team after city’s department of recreation asked it to because so many HoLa kids signed up. “So, we scrambled, and one of our parents is coaching,” said Hindman Sargent, but the team does not normally practice in the club gym.

She also said that she is not concerned about HoLa’s security. “When we are there and we have students there, our security is fine,” she said. She added that reception has a camera and everyone must be buzzed in during school hours. After school and on the weekends, she said, she understands that the Boys and Girls Club has someone monitoring the building. Mincey said he’s usually the one to stop anybody who comes inside.

Sargent said she’d heard about the mouse droppings. “Over Christmas break, I think the regularly scheduled cleaning didn’t happen,” she said, “and a lot of garbage was left in the building.” She said the mice must have found a way in, but the problem has been solved. She also said that an exterminator visits the building on a regular basis.

Mincey said he’d also like to see the club kids get healthier snacks. “We give out Kool-Aid and Rice Krispies Treats,” said Mincey. “It’s sugar on top of sugar. I would rather just go get a jar of peanut butter and jelly or lunch meat or wheat bread or even buttered rolls and juice.”

Greenberg said the club tries to give out healthy treats. “I know that we do the best we can in giving them nutritious snacks,” he said. And as far as allegations that the Kool-Aid is being prepared in a closet where cleaning supplies are stored, Greenberg said he has no idea why that would be happening. “I know there is a beautiful kitchen,” he said.

Both Greenberg and Sargent said they thought the relationship between the school and the club was going well. Having the school on the top floor, said Greenberg, has created a great resource and an opportunity to serve more people in the community.

Groups of parents and local charities have recently worked together to raise money for improvements to the building. The bathrooms on the first floor were renovated during winter break, and plans are underway for a teen center on the first floor. The building also got a new roof about two months ago, Greenberg said.

Greenberg said he’s not sure why Mincey has come forward with complaints about the club and that Mincey had not mentioned them before. Greenberg said the club tries to help as many kids as it can and that he and Mincey both see the children as the first priority. 

However, Mincey said he believes the children at the Boys and Girls Club are not getting what they deserve, and for that, he will fight. “I will argue,” said Mincey. “I will get upset over my kids being slighted.”

Journey February 02, 2012 at 07:32 PM
We all suspect who you are C.Gal. but we don't know, all you are is an anonymous blogger. Consider the wisdom of throwing stones when you live in a glass house.
Journey February 02, 2012 at 07:33 PM
We also have no proof that Geri Ceballos is who she says either, it a strength and weakness of the internet.
Journey February 02, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Here is some tv dialog about the internet and identity... Xander: No, it's just... this Malcolm guy? What's his deal? I mean, tell me you're not slightly wigged. Buffy: Okay, slightly. I mean, just not knowing what he's really like. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "I Robot, you Jane." Xander: Or who he really is. I mean, sure he says he's a high school student, but I can say I'm a high school student. Buffy: You are. Xander: Okay, but I can also say that I'm an elderly Dutch woman. Get me? I mean, who's to say I'm not if I'm in the elderly Dutch chat room? Buffy: I get your point. I get your point! Oh, this guy could be anybody. He could be weird, or crazy, or old, or... He could be a circus freak. He's probably a circus freak! Xander: Yeah. I mean, we read about it all the time. Y'know, people meet on the 'Net, they talk, they get together, have dinner, a show, horrible ax murder.
Grafix Avenger February 02, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Mr Latimer, you touched my heart. Folks don't know how many of the kids there truly need the kindness, the attention, the looking after, inc. warm meals, that the B&G provided. And caring individuals like Mr. Mincey make all the difference to young people trapped by circumstance. Things have to get better for the B&G. HoLa was only supposed to occupy the building for 2 years- it's in their charter.
ThisMeansWar February 02, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Townie all you have to do is get yourself and your wife sent to prison and your kids will be just as lucky as Mr Latimer.
BruceD February 02, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Well if it is GC posting, then she is a shrew of the upmost degree that does not even live in Hoboken, but scams the system to have her kids in school here. BTW, there was more than one witness to her tirade and screaming snit fit who saw nothing but HER being the uncouth foulmouthed aggressor. Mama $5 a Tow Russo lite, but not by much.
Redrider765 February 03, 2012 at 12:14 AM
The schools really need to do something to police the residency requirements much more tightly.
Geri Ceballos February 03, 2012 at 09:55 PM
@khoboken...unfortunately you are being fooled...i haven't been the 1st person to complain abt this person...and i may have been foulmouthed...which is not something i have denied btw...but that was a reaction...you can think what you like...believe who you may want to believe...you can even insult me if that makes you feel any better...but you do not know me to think that that tirade as you was was unprovoked...fortunately...my son knows the truth...i certainly know the truth...and most importantly...HE knows the truth...and if lying makes him feel better abt what hapnd...he can go ahead...
BruceD February 03, 2012 at 10:04 PM
No suprose that you admit to be a foul mothed shrew. Impossible to deny. As to who was at fault, I trust the people that were silent witnessess to you becoming unhinged and foaming at the mouth. In front of other children. Definitely not cool. whatever disagreement you may have had with the man, NOTHING justififed what you said and did that day. NOTHING! BTW, Do you live in Hoboken? Simple quesion. Why avoid the answer? Just remember, the kids in your sons' class know where you really live.
Geri Ceballos February 03, 2012 at 10:26 PM
lol...as i said...if it makes you feel better to insult me...go ahead...like i said...you do not know me...you clearly do not know what happened...and i need not answer any of your questions because they are not relevant to you...it is unfortunate that children were there...but you can blame Mike for that who purposely provoked a reaction out of me...while i need not apologize to you for my behavior...i do admit my faults and i have apologized to those who i've seen around who were unfortunately a witness to what happened...that is not who i am unless provoked and those who know me...including many of the children who were there who do know me since i have always been a supportive parent...know that...now you can continue your tirade against me...i am not bothered...like i said...i know the truth...my son knows the truth...and so does he...
BruceD February 03, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Still blaming anyone but yourself. A non apology apology. I'm sorry but he made me do it. Typical. Lack of self awareness is a symptom of low self esteem and intelligence. Both of which you are lacking by the barrel.
Geri Ceballos February 03, 2012 at 10:47 PM
clearly the person lacking intelligence here is you...if you actually read what I wrote you will see that i did admit my faults...and apologized to the appropriate ppl...the problem here is the lie...but you are too busy attacking me to see that...so you can continue...but i will not lower myself with back and forth banter with you...enjoy your continous tirade...i am not affected...i simply wanted to make note of the flagrant lie...
Grafix Avenger February 03, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Geri, I was approached separately yesterday and this afternoon about this by 2 dads, both of whom have sons on Mike's team. One was a witness to the incident and the story he relayed to me was very different than yours. He felt very uncomfortable with the scene you were making and took his son out of the building. He and his son heard you screaming from where they were standing outside in the street. Both fathers expressed what a wonderful figure Mike is in the lives of the many children he coaches- I was told that he presides over 40-50 children at a time, not exactly an easy thing. I was told that he's strict, but when the game is over he tells the kids how well they did, and shows them he cares. Many of these kids don't get that kind of validation at home. He has made a huge difference in the lives of so many children. it is unfortunate this happened. You write above that Mike "provoked a reaction out of me" which sounds like you are taking some responsibility for what occurred. So that's good. Time to move on and see how to make things better for the kids at the B&G Club.
Redrider765 February 03, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Is one of your faults that you are deceiving the Hoboken BOE, sending your kids to school here and sticking the people of this town w/ the bill? Simple question, one you still haven't answered.
BruceD February 04, 2012 at 12:26 AM
You did not apologize, you offered up a tepid excuse for your boorish and thuggish behavior in front of children and other parents. It is a pity that you were never taught the difference. There is no decision or statement that could have justified your boorish and vulgar outburst. That is on you, and you alone. If you did not agree with something that was said, take it to a private place and have a discussion like an adult, not like a rabid barnyard animal. Accept it, own it and apologize, without any excuse, and then maybe other parents wont avoid you like the plague and your children will not be shunned. Who wants their kids around someone like you who can fly off the handle, act like a complete imbecile, and then instead of expressing true remorse for their behavior, goes on a campaign to get a well respected and highly regarded coach fired? What an effing load of crap you are. And the fact that you are so utterly clueless is pathetic and pitiful. There is nothing that the coach said or did that could ever remotely justify your antics. If you truly appreciated what a vulgar and foul display you put on, and the corrosive effect that it had on the other children and the relationship between the coach and the kids, the other kids and your kids, and you and the other parents, you would run and hide and never show your face again out of sheer and utter embarrassment for being such a collossal ass. But ignorance is bliss.
Hoboken Born and Raised February 04, 2012 at 09:10 PM
M. has a "wonderful" talent of making the "outside of his circle" children feel like dirt, with his yelling and bullying. I have seen that first hand. He is the one behind the scenes provoking and stands back like and innocent victim with an incident occurs. You parents who think he is a wonderful role model are sadly mistaken. He is a tirant, that Ex Dir knows it and hides that fact. Some of you parents should talk the the kids he threw off his team, ask those kids how they feel about him.
Hoboken Born and Raised February 04, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Geri sorry that it came to this, but you too were fooled by him in the beginning and now you too see what i always saw. that place needs an new brd, a new ex ed and new staff asap!
Passkey February 04, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Anyone else see a pattern here? It goes as follows: 
A) Zimmer/KF gets caught being anything but open, transparent, competent, etc... 
B) Bloggers/KF/Zimmer supporters put out attacks belittling or questioning the source of the initial report or ad hominem attacks on anyone who criticizes KF 
C) Said controversy hopefully recedes, and KF/Zimmer wins points among its committed followers for standing up to the forces "assailing them" Geri Ceballos- when they make personal attacks at you then it means they have nothing of substance to say.
Redrider765 February 04, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Asskey - copy and pasting the same cow manure over and over again every time you get ripped a new one is not a winning strategy. It is just you repeating the same old pattern and admitting you are a fool.
Redrider765 February 04, 2012 at 11:24 PM
And BTW, if she is fraudulently sending her kids to school here and living in another town, that completely goes to her credibility. Not like you care, you never have supported people w/ credibility.
nice try February 04, 2012 at 11:55 PM
This is a much more more interesting "pattern" from Passkey: whiteshirt 6:47 pm on Saturday, February 19, 2011 Anyone else see a pattern here? It goes as follows: A) KF gets caught being anything but open, transparent, competent, etc... B) Bloggers/KF supporters put out attacks belittling the source of the initial report or ad hominem attacks on anyone who criticizes KF C) Said controversy recedes, and KF wins points among its committed followers for standing up to the forces "assailing them".
nice try February 05, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Oh look here it is again another "pattern" from Passkey's "friend" whiteshirt: whiteshirt 3:31 am on Friday, February 18, 2011 Anyone else see a pattern here? It goes as follows: A) KF gets caught being anything but open, transparent, competent, etc... B) Bloggers/KF supporters put out attacks belittling the source of the initial report or ad hominem attacks on anyone who criticizes KF C) Said controversy recedes, and KF wins points among its committed followers for standing up to the forces "assailing them".
nice try February 05, 2012 at 12:20 AM
I wonder what whiteshirt thinks about Passkey taking his favorite post. Interesting "pattern" indeed here it is again: whiteshirt 9:55 am on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 @Bet Mazin Anyone else see a pattern here? It goes as follows: A) KF gets caught being anything but open, transparent, competent, etc... B) Bloggers/KF supporters put out derogatory statements belittling the source of the initial report or ad hominem attacks on anyone who criticizes KF C) Said controversy recedes, and KF wins points among its committed followers for standing up to the forces "assailing them". Except....nothing seems to be receding these days. Go figure.
Sting Ray February 05, 2012 at 01:51 AM
HB&R - Another liar. Geri has an ax to grind, most likely because she was busted committing fraud against the taxpayers of Hoboken. She did her children a disservice and now she's spewing her misdirected rage at an established and respected coach at the Boys and Girls Club. Geri, put on your big girl pants and go back to your hometown. Make an appointment with an anger management counselor while you're at it.
the truth February 06, 2012 at 05:36 PM
StingRay and Khoboken, what do you 2 really know about Mike? Do you know that he has been cited several times for incidents with parents and children were he has used the same kind of aggressive and bully type behavior with others? Do you know that he has been suspended numerous times for similar incidents? Or has been fired and rehired again for the same type of behavior? You come on here to defend him and try to put others down without doing your research on the type of person he is. Try talking to all of the parents who have removed their children from the program because of the way Mike treats them. Or talk to the recreation department about all the parents who refuse to have their children play on his team. Talk to the kids who he coaches for a while who then want no part of him. At some point Gary Greenberg will step up and do what is right instead of constantly trying to cover Mikes behind all the time. Mike sells big dreams to people but only as long as they are benefiting him.
Sting Ray February 06, 2012 at 11:51 PM
"the truth" As a parent who had a child in the Boys and Girls Club for several years, I never experienced a complaint about Mike from my child or anyone associated with the club. I find him a genuine asset to the Boys and Girls Club and he has been there for about 12 years. What do we know about you? It appears you have access to his personnel file. As a parent, I wouldn't have access. So, are you a B&GC employee doing damage control? Who at the Boys and Girls Club has access to personnel files? Looks like Mike would have grounds for a lawsuit. I don't know who you are, but I know what you are. The subject of this article is a report about how the children of the Boys and Girls Club are being pushed aside. Do you sincerely think the children in the Club are being treated adequately by consuming Rice Crispy Treats or crackers and Kool-aide when they used to be served warm meals every day after school? What is your take on that?
BruceD February 07, 2012 at 12:51 AM
mistruth. Whatever, whatever. I know infinitely more about the B&G than you would ever suspect. The whole point is that the idiot banshee of a parent went into a rabid vulgar tirade in front of other children and parents. NOTHING justified that spectacle - and that is set forth in each of my posts. Such conduct is the antithesis of what the G&G is supposed to be promoting. It was a hideous example of parenting and adult behavior gone wrong. There were multiple ways to have handled the situaion as a sane rational parent instead of blowing up. The lame excuse of an apology (he made me do it) only makes the matter worse. Slam the man all day long, no ciach/teacher/mentor is immune from patretns indignation for not recognizing the specialness of their child, not putting them on the right team, not giving them a starting positon every game, ad nauseum. At least the man is actually doing something, while the many parents who push their kids with unrealistsic expectations dont lift a finger, just whine and complain about the staff and how inadequate that they are. And by the way, I am no fan at all of the current board or the HOLA situation. But I am addressing my conerens through the appropriate channels and not acting like a wannbe thugette.
Hoboken Born and Raised February 08, 2012 at 11:39 PM
My son's attended abou 3.5 yrs ago, I thought the leadership in that program was top notch, there was a young lady running the program that was thoughtful, organized and cared about evey child. Her name was Ms. Rodrigues. She brought the food program to the Club. She was raised in the HHA and was a wonderful real role model fot the kids. I remember even back then thinking how immature and irrational Mike was. I had seen "suspend" kids from the gym. He would yell GET OUT if they even opened the gym door to call their siblings when it was time to go home. I had seen her frustration with him. As for Gary Greenberg, I met him once, why is she gone and not him. The program was wonderful under her leadership and now its terrible. Questions about the publicly funded food program, contact the NJ Food Bank in Hillside. I remember seeing their truck delivering food to the Club weekly. Or call Gary Greenberg 201-333-4100. He is a no show, who isnt accountable for anything, he will probably never return your calls.
TruthBToldHobBNR February 25, 2012 at 05:56 PM
This woman learned nothing. She still prances around with the same people, who did not speak up for her at all. The "self-proclaimed Mom Squad" I see them at basketball and football games. They belittle children who are not included in their little social clique and berate them at public games. Its garbage like this that needs to be taken care of in Hoboken.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something