Thursday, September 06, 2012

Sheldon Principal:Hughes Will Remain Baseball Coach


Mike Hughes will be the varsity baseball coach at Sheldon High School this season, that despite a demand on the part of several of the parents that he be fired.

School principal Paula Duncan made it clear that her three-week investigation into the allegations of recruiting and other impropriety brought by the parents in a letter shared with the Citizen Aug. 10 has discovered little evidence to back those claims.

“I have interviewed many students, I have looked into the allegations, I can tell you there is nothing that sustains any recruiting,” Duncan said Thursday.

In their letter, addressed to the school's athletic director, Denise Aguilar, parents claim Hughes was using his off-season tournament team, the River City Outlaws, to recruit players attending other schools to play at Sheldon. Plus, they add that Hughes was guaranteeing a spot on the varsity roster for those who played on the Outlaws.

“All the other allegations, I honestly cannot substantiate and according to the kids, it didn’t happen,” Duncan said. 


She also said that she attempted to meet in person with the parents responsible for writing the letter.

“When (Sheldon athletic director) Denise (Aguilar) offered to meet with any parent, especially those who were involved in the parents’ letter, not one parent would come forward, not one,” Duncan said. “One parent did meet with us, but it wasn’t a parent involved at all with the letter, just wanted to discuss their concern with this matter.”

Duncan says she was told by Aguilar that one parent contacted refused the meeting.

“They said they didn’t want to meet,” she said. “They said what they wrote in the letter was all they wanted to say.”

The letter also charged Hughes threatened the players with being benched during the 2012 season if parents complained about their son’s playing time.

“In looking at the concerns and talking to the kids, it was never told them,” Duncan claims. “They never had any indication that would happen. There just was nothing to indicate that ever occurred.”

However, Duncan said there was one positive that came from this situation. The parents’ request that booster club monies be audited resulted in tighter management of the finances.

“(The booster club) has been extraordinarily cooperative in making some changes, even before I talked to them,” Duncan said. “Nothing was a practice that no one else isn’t doing, but in all honesty, things could be tightened up.”

The use of tobacco products by coaches, objected to by the parents, is something that Duncan says she has dealt with.

“We’re addressing that, because that is absolutely not okay,” she said.

Two parents were contacted Thursday for their reaction to Duncan's announcement. Neither would allow their names to be used, but both expressed their disappointment with Duncan's decision. 

One of the parents told me this is not the end of their effort to have Hughes removed as coach. ...

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