R-H Baseball Coach Stipend Not Funded – “We got him fired,” Says Parent

   Written by on August 17, 2017 at 9:55 am

CHARLOTTE COURT HOUSE – The Charlotte County School Board at their regular meeting on July 11 held a closed session to discuss personnel recommendations made by Superintendent Nancy Leonard. Following the closed session “on motion by Mr. Berkley, seconded by Mr. Devin and carried with a vote of 6 yeas, 1 nay (Redmond), the Board approved the personnel recommendations with the exception of the R-H Varsity Baseball Coach and the CMS Golf Coach” J. R. Allen.

According to Superintendent Nancy Leonard, “Each year coaching recommendations for the upcoming year are submitted to the Superintendent by the Athletic Director. Those recommendations are brought to the Board by the superintendent for approval to extend stipend contracts to coaches for the upcoming year. Those stipend recommendations are made on a year by year basis and are not tied to teaching contract.

Any time an individual is considered for hire under contract or for a supplemental stipend, as in the case of a coach, the recommendation must be brought before the School Board for approval. Such was the case this year when recommendations were brought forth. However, two recommended coaching stipends were not approved by the School Board. The meeting minutes from the August Board meeting reflect the required voting record.”

The catalyst in the failure to renew Allen’s coaching stipends seems to have been comments made by Allen to Gary Walker following the Charlotte County Dixie Youth Minor League District 5 All-Star Tournament loss in Keysville at the Tournament.

The Charlotte County team was ahead by six runs at the bottom of the fourth inning but lost the game 13 – 12 which Allen apparently attributed to coaches playing their own sons instead of better players. Both Allen supporters and opponents agree Allen made a comment to Walker that “you can’t win games at this level by playing “Daddy ball.” At this point a parent entered the conversation criticizing Allen for criticizing the coaches.

Following the game, a group of parents acknowledge they each called as many school board members as they could, complaining about Allen. One parent told The Messenger, “We got him fired,” but refused to allow us to attribute the quote.

Another parent dismissed the importance of the incident at the game saying, “We have been unhappy with him for a long time. This was just lighting the candle on the top of the cake.”

Gary Walker, with 40 plus years as a Dixie Youth Coach stated, “I was at the Keysville tournament game that seems to have caused some controversy about Coach Allen. I had just shaken hands with him when he was confronted by an angry parent about a comment he had made about ‘Daddy ball’. At no time was he out of line in any way and quickly removed himself from the area to avoid further ‘conflict’. He handled the matter much better than I would have.”  Then he added, “If the School Board is looking for a coach that can keep ALL parents happy at all times, they will be looking for a long long time…”

Superintendent Nancy Leonard expressed concern that some teachers have approached her regarding the security of their jobs. She wrote, “I am concerned that I have been approached by numerous teachers who have felt that their jobs may be in jeopardy because of the coaching stipends not being approved by the School Board. However, I have assured them that approval for a supplemental stipend is very different from being under a teacher contract. There are very specific and State required grievance procedures and protections in place under those circumstances for tenured teachers.

“Charlotte County has a wonderful teaching and coaching staff and it is concerning to me that that these dedicated professionals are feeling that their jobs are in jeopardy. Our teachers and coaches are second to none and I applaud their dedication. Unless someone has spent time in a school as a teacher or on a playing field as a coach, very few people understand what it is like to be in their shoes. They are in a very difficult situation and it is impossible to make everyone happy and still do right by children.”

The Messenger’s attempts to obtain “on the record” comments from school board members and those supporting the removal of Allen have been unsuccessful at press time.  We welcome additional comments and letters on both sides of the issue.

As of press time new coaches had not been named for baseball or golf.

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