EATON, Colo. — Tensions boiled over at a school board meeting in Weld County. People there are upset about the way the district is handling their head baseball coach.
Coach Jim Danley has been the head coach for Eaton High School’s baseball program since 1972. He has led the Reds to 11 state championships and has an 83% winning record.
He was recently presented with a Performance Improvement Plan. The document is meant to give staff goals to improve upon. Danley says he feels like his a personal attack though.
“It doesn’t appear to be a document that’s well thought out or well written and seems impossible to adhere to,” Danley told FOX31.
The 13-point plan forbids Danely’s son Kirk from having contact with any member of Eaton’s baseball program. Kirk has been a volunteer coach with younger players for several years.
It also mandates Danley create a handbook for players, promote multi-sport athletes, take an online course about safety and respect, and ensure only spring championship banners are hung in the outfield during ball games.
If the coach fails to meet any of the new requirements, he will immediately be let go.
“Many of them are unmeasurable. It’s vague. It’s confusing,” Danley said.
The issue took center stage at the Eaton School Board meeting Monday night. It was standing room only in the meeting. Almost two dozen speakers from the community addressed the topic.
“This 13-point plan is wrong,” said former Eaton School Board member State Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Eaton. “Personally you should be fired for your incompetence.”
Not everyone is on the coach’s side. A group of current senior boys got up to express that they believe changes need to be made to the baseball program. The boys said they are afraid of repercussions from Danley if they explore teams outside of Eaton for off-season play. Several parents also spoke against the longtime coach.
“Their spirits are broken and I don’t think necessarily by Jim but by his son,” said Melody Brown, a mother of Eaton baseball players. “Our kids are in tears. The things he says are just, you can’t even repeat them.”
While many agree some things do need to change, they just do not agree with the way the board is doing it. The coach asked the board for a yes or no vote on whether he should stay or go. The board declined a vote.
It is now up to Danley to sign the Performance Improvement Plan. If he does, he will be required to follow all of the new rules. If he does not sign it, he will not be asked back for the spring 2016 season.
The Eaton School Board has responded saying it just wants what is best for the students.
“The standard for success at Eaton is not about wins or losses, it’s about each student reaching their greatest potential,” said board President Tim Croissant from a prepared statement.