To the editor:

I was surprised to see the May 14 headline of The Examiner, “Athletes express support for ex-coach.” This has been a somewhat human interest story until now. Why did it receive front-page, top-billing? We have understood the normal human interest letters to the editor from some of the team players of Coach Thompson. Being a former college athlete in three sports, I know how attached players become to their coach, but it appears to me that this been played out too long in The Examiner. I have briefly followed this story and would like to make three or four points in this apparent on-going issue for The Examiner:

• It seems to me that coach Thompson had done nothing morally wrong, otherwise she would not have been allowed to continue to teach at Chrisman so we are not talking about a coach acting improperly. She was just relieved of her duties, which happens a lot in the coaching business.

• The School District has the right to hire and fire coaches. It takes a somewhat thick-skinned individual to take on such a role. I personally admire coaches for coaching. It certainly isn’t the pay they get, but generally it comes down to winning, and the athletic director has the responsibility in making those decisions and recommending to the principal whether a coach’s contract should be renewed or not.

• I commend the girls (it appears to me that the whole team wasn’t disgruntled, but only some of the players) for expressing their views in letters to the editor and by taking their views to their principal, and school board. The board did thank them for expressing their views and coming to see them.

I don’t know what else to say. Maybe The Examiner should have done some investigative reporting on how the district seeks out new coaches, and let us all know why coaches are hired and fired, but we do know the district officials do not discuss personnel issues on individual teachers in public. Can an athletic director go talk to a potential coach, even before firing the current one? He or she certainly can’t offer that person a job. Is it here that The Examiner feels something was done wrong? Has The Examiner talked to the School Board personally about their policy? Maybe an editorial needs to be written to make some recommendations on changing current policy by the school district. It appears to me that the girls are being used to keep an issue on the front burner (front page!) and this is not helping them deal with the real world of coach-player relationships.

Let me venture a guess: It probably came down to the issue of not winning enough basketball games and the AD wanted to try and win more. I would hope the qualities of dedication and personal commitment to players beyond the practices and games, will also be a part of the new coach’s style. I believe all teachers want to help all students become better persons.

Chrisman: Play Ball!

Joe Bayless