CYO coach says team denied practice space at church

A basketball coach said Friday he was denied space at a Westport church to practice with his CYO team because he hasn't attended services.

"I've been a member a member of that parish for over 20 years," said Greg Brien, who coaches in a Catholic Youth Organization basketball program.

But 48 players can no longer practice inside the parish center at Our Lady of Grace Church.

"I went there on a Monday to have my papers signed. He called me Monday afternoon and said, 'You're all done,'" Brien said.

Brien said that call came from the Rev. Horace Travassos of Our Lady of Grace.

Brien said it's never been a problem before this year, but he said he was given a reason.

"Because he didn't see my attendance in church," Brien said.

Brien said parents were willing to chip in to pay for heat and utilities and that they tried to do their part to make the space work.

"They have to break down tables every Friday so that we can use it. And I break down half the court on Monday nights so I can use it. He never gave us any word that he was going to shut down," Brien said.

Despite his efforts, the coach said he still couldn't strike a deal. He's trying to find somewhere else to practice.

"We just play the games. We practice outside. We were out there last Sunday in the freezing cold," Brien said.

Brien said there were no conflicts over money or with another organization. Travassos said he didn't want to answer any questions and had no comment.

Brien said another church is stepping in to help sponsor the players.