District fires head volleyball coach

By Allie Love

Head volleyball coach Kim Service’s coaching contract was terminated by the district on Friday, March 9.

Sarah Darby, editor-in-chief

After 10 years of coaching at the school, head volleyball coach Kimberly Service’s coaching contract has not been renewed for the 2012-2013 school year.

Service received a letter informing her of the decision on Friday, March 9 and a certified letter by mail the following week. The district website listed a job opening for the position on Thursday, March 22.

“I expected it, I’ve expected it for a long time so I was not surprised,” Service said.

The letter Service received stated unsatisfactory job performance as the reason for termination of contract.

The district would not comment on its decision to not renew Service’s contract.

In the aftermath of the decision, Service has filed a complaint against the district with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at the federal level and Kansas Department of Human Rights at the state level. Service, who feels her job has been subject to parent complaints since her team played in a tournament on Homecoming, believes she was treated unfairly because of her sex. (For more information on the original controversies surrounding Service’s coaching position, see our previous article). The district and Service will meet with attorneys to attempt to settle the dispute with a moderator and will advance to court if no agreement can be achieved.

Service said her original intention in filing the complaint was contract renewment, however, now she said she will probably seek reimbursement for attorney fees and the monetary value of her contract.

The district released a statement in reaction to the claim filed.

“The School District is aware of the complaint filed by a disgruntled employee. The District categorically denies and rejects the employee’s unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing. The District is confident that, when the EEOC has been given all the facts (including documentation that supports our position) and completes its investigation, the District will ultimately prevail. Because the employee’s complaint involves potentially confidential personnel issues, and is now in the legal arena, the District will not comment further at this point and let the EEOC go forward with its investigation.”

The district also stated what qualities they would seek in a new coach.

“We are searching for qualified candidates who are positive, energetic, and motivating. Potential coaches need to stress the importance of academics and a strong desire to build a complete and successful program,” the district statement said.

The decision surprised JV coach Amy McClure.

“I was very disappointed in the decision and I would have to say shocked,” McClure said. “I have worked with coach Service for nine seasons and she is by far the most dedicated and passionate head coach that I’ve ever worked for in my 15-year career.”

The decision leaves McClure uncertain about her coaching plans for next year.

“I am definitely waiting to see who they hire as the head coach and see how it’s handled and then I will make my decision,” McClure said. “But, I’m leaning towards walking away.”

Sophomore volleyball coach Ashley Agre will not return because she is in the midst of her second pregnancy. Freshman volleyball coach Erica Minton said she remains undecided about her return next year.

Sophomore varsity player Abby Ford, who will still try out for the team next year, said the tournament played on Homecoming seemed to be the largest issue surrounding Service’s coaching position. She found out about Service’s termination about a week after a job opening for her position became posted on the district website. Ford said it is justifiable to fire a coach if they are not capable of being a positive influence on players, however, she said that the stipulation did not apply in Service’s situation.

“I was surprised because I didn’t think there was any main reason why it should have happened,” Ford said.

Junior Tanner Tripp, who will also try out for the team next year, said she expected the outcome because of all of the rumors going around during the volleyball season.

“I am not one to say if she should have been fired or not,” Tripp said. “I never really had any problems with her, but I heard a lot of people who did.”

Service has accepted a position as head volleyball coach at another high school, which she will not name until the position becomes official, but will continue to teach French here unless a teaching position opens at the other high school.

Nevertheless, Service said she wishes the circumstances were different.

“I’ve been a part of the program for 10 years which is a majority of my coaching experience,” Service said. “A part of my heart will always be Mill Valley Jaguar. Even though I’m very fortunate to move right onto another school, there’s still a part of me that wishes it didn’t have to be that way.”

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