The coach gaining national attention for a recording of him berating players recently coached basketball in Maine.

Mike Woodbury

Late Tuesday, an audio clip was posted on YouTube of Mike “Woody” Woodbury, owner and CEO of Nation Christian Academy in Port St. Lucie, Florida, shouting obscene phrases to his players on the Nation Christian Academy team.

Woodbury was the owner of the Maine AAU basketball team MB Nation, based in Saco, before leaving in 2015. Maine players who played for and against Woodbury say his behavior in the audio clip is nothing new.

Some of the most pointed phrases in the recording were to Nation Christian Academy player Marven Petion in which Woodbury threatened to send Petion back to Haiti.

VIDEO:Nations Christian HC Mike Woodbury response to player transferring [WARNING: Excessive profanity and disturbing language used in the video]

“I control your transfers, I control where you go next, it could be back to Haiti, motherf—,” Woodbury said to Petion. “That’s how easy it is for me. … I am the dirtiest, baddest motherf— in this Earth.”

Jeff Goodman of Stadium, an online sports page, reported that Petion has since transferred but was surprised to find that his transcripts showed he had maintained a 1.4 grade-point average. Petion said he had held a B average while at Nation Christian Academy.

Taylor Schildroth, a graduate of George Stevens Academy and 2018 Maine Mr. Basketball finalist, had enrolled this fall at Nation Christian but transferred after the video surfaced.

“The incident did not directly involve me,” Schildroth said. “I’ve made the decision to leave the school because I don’t want to be associated with a school whose leader says things like that.”

Woodbury has always had a Maine connection. In the early 2000s, he coached a 15U AAU girls’ basketball team called Maine Elite before starting up MB Nation.

“The recording was a perfect description of his everyday behavior,” Emily Rousseau, a Maine Elite player, said Wednesday.

Rousseau and teammate Tanna Ross, who played under Woodbury from seventh grade through her sophomore year of high school, said that Woodbury would frequently yell obscenities at the players, including racially tinged threats at a black player on the team.

“I remember him making a comment to an African-American player that if she didn’t play better he would commit a hate crime,” Rousseau said.

“He was very racist to her and demeaning over and over,” Ross said.

Ross said Woodbury “just liked to control every situation we were in,” and had “very controlling tendencies.”

In the audio clip posted Tuesday night, Woodbury made reference to his control over the players.

He threatened sexual assault “next time you talk out of line. I’m going to take everything from you. I am going to end everything you’ve ever had.”

MAINE ELITE

During his time with Maine Elite, Woodbury was frequently swearing, demeaning his players and sometimes being sexually suggestive, according to a complaint filed with the AAU by Pamela Barker in 2005 that has been obtained by the Sun Journal. Barker is a parent of two of Woodbury’s Maine Elite players.

“Things like what they did/do with their boyfriends, if they even had boyfriends, what their sexual habits might be,” Barker said. “If you were a player who had a boyfriend, you were considered a ‘sperm bank,’ and he inquired about one of his player’s sexual orientation on more than one occasion.”

The “sperm bank” phrase was used frequently toward his team of girls age 15 and younger.

Parents were concerned, again, when Woodbury was found watching movies with the girls in a hotel room wearing only gym shorts and with no other adult supervision, according to the complaint.

“There was no way that I felt comfortable enough to send my girls on their own on any of these ill-supervised trips,” Barker said.

During practices, Rousseau remembers being physically moved by Woodbury.

“Even though he didn’t hit anyone, he was still very physical,” Rousseau said. “If he wanted us to go onto the court, he would drag us by our ponytail. If he wanted you to move, he would physically grab you and push you and not punch, but use a firm fist to the stomach.”

MB NATION AND BEYOND

Woodbury went on to start MB Nation after all players on the Maine Elite team quit, including Rousseau and Ross.

Woodbury’s reputation followed him, however, and his antics never changed.

“Parents tolerated his actions because kids were playing college basketball and landing scholarships,” said Nicholas Jobin, a former Westbrook High School player and opponent of Woodbury’s on the AAU circuit. “But it reached a tipping point. He needed a fresh start and Florida was the perfect opportunity to him.”

Jobin played against Woodbury before Jobin graduated in 2010 and Woodbury was already considered a bully.

Jobin said he’s talked to many people recently who have had interactions with Woodbury over the years, and many agree that the recording that surfaced Tuesday was normal for him.

When 2013 Edward Little High School graduate Quin Leary played against Jobin’s teams, he remembers a physically and verbally abusive coach.

“He was like that every time I played against him, always yelling and belittling his players,” Leary said. “He would scream and call them p—s, a bunch of 13- and 14-year-olds and smack the back of their heads.”

Elgin Physic, coach of the Lewiston-based MB Nation team in 2010, said he didn’t have many interactions with Woodbury.

“I heard him cuss at kids, but he didn’t cuss at my kids.” Physic said. “There’s no secret with how he is dealing with kids. This is his style, and either you like it or you don’t like it.”

While Woodbury is now dealing with many players leaving Nation Christian, the complaint filed against him in 2005 showed that parents wanted him to stop coaching long before now.

“If I can prevent this man who holds himself out as a coach and role model for young ladies from ever demeaning, inappropriately interacting and verbally abusing any other young lady, then my stepping forth with this information about Mr. Woodbury will be worth it,” Barker said.


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