A wildly popular football coach in Washington state was put under pressure to fire two of his assistants to meet with the standards of an "improvement plan" initiated after the results of a random survey. While that might be awkward under any circumstances, this particular coach's job was even more difficult for a powerful reason: He was being asked to fire his father and brother.
Eventually, the coach's refusal to meet with those guidelines led to his own dismissal just hours after impassioned pleas from the community to keep him on board.
As reported by the Tacoma News Tribune, among other sources, Gig Harbor (Wash.) High football coach Darren McKay was told that his father and brother -- who have served as the team's offensive line coach, and offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, respectively -- were no longer allowed to be on his staff following the results of anonymous online surveys completed by parents of Gig Harbor players.
The decision to force out the other members of the McKay clan came after Darren McKay had already been given a positive end-of-season review by Gig Harbor athletic director Dale Johnson, the result of a 5-4 regular season and playoff berth that eventually ended in a postseason loss to perennial powerhouse Bellarmine (Wash.) High. In 12 years as a teacher and coach at Gig Harbor, McKay compiled a 77-41 record.
According to the News Tribune, just days after McKay's "official" review with Johnson, he was called back in by Johnson and was handed the results of the anonymous survey by the AD and school principal Ted Strong. The two administrators told McKay that as a result of the survey he would be placed on an "improvement plan" and that his relatives would not be allowed to continue as coaches within the Tides' football program.
Faced with the decision to accept harsh treatment of his relatives or resign, McKay did neither, instead filing a grievance against the policy that led to the ouster of his fellow staff members.
The outstanding grievance led to a large gathering of Gig Harbor football players and parents at a school board meeting on Thursday night, with all making clear that they felt a Gig Harbor team without all three McKays on the coaching staff would be inadequate.Read More »from Washington coach loses job rather than fire father and brother based on parental surveys