April 17, 2014

What the community says about the coaches

April 17, 2014 Staff Writer Cydney Baron

PRYOR, OK — Within minutes of the announcement, the Locust Grove community began rallying around four coaches relieved of their duties Tuesday.

One Locust Grove student athlete, Sydnie Pierce, had this to say:

“As a player and student, it is very upsetting when coaches get fired. Not just coaches, but coaches that have brought nothing but improvements to our athletics program. I've never been coached by the Cooks but judging from their success they were doing something right. And Amy has completely transformed the cheer squad from hardly anyone wanting to try out to having 30 girls go out this year and making it to state the past two years.

“I don't even know where to begin with Maple. He built the program from nothing. I don't think you understand how upsetting it is for the player and squad members. We have to start over, learn whole different practice routines and different playing methods. Not only that but we have a bond with those coaches that isn't exactly easy to get over. It's like you're taking away one of our family members. We talk to them and they watch us struggle in aspects of life and encourage us when we doubt our abilities. And when they have to pack up their families, our teammates, it thoroughly infuriates me.”

Other students agreed with the sentiment and allegedly got reprimanded by school officials for hanging posters in the hallway supporting the coaches.

Marilyn Maples, mother of coach Ronnie Maple, weighed in as well.

“I am just shocked, it’s hard to believe a school board would let a winning coach and amazing teacher go. I guess I don’t think anyone knows that direction they are talking about,” said Marilyn Maple.

“It’s a sad day for Locust Grove. The one thing I know for sure is Ronnie will survive. And wherever he goes, Ronnie will have more winning seasons because that’s just the man he is, a winner.”

Many have flocked to social media sites to express frustration with the situation.

One comment, posted to The Times’ Facebook page said, “Well Locust Grove School Board needs to be fired, too. Finally, after many many years, Locust goes many places in sports and gets recognition for it and they let the coaches go.”

“Seems like another power play in Locust Grove. It’s who you know and who you are connected to,” said another frustrated citizen. “Nothing about this makes sense.”

School officials have yet to explain the decision, saying simply they have decided to “go in a different direction.”

Phone calls were made by The Times to Superintendent David Cash in addition to all school board members. Only Rick Pierce was able to be reached, but he declined to comment.

Some members of the community are supporting the board’s decision, saying it’s a matter of karma.

“When you do kids wrong and aren’t fair, then karma comes back to get you. They may have won plenty but when a coach is rude, unfair and name calls because you’re not with his in crowd, then there’s a problem,” said another Facebook commenter.

While a few are speaking out in support of the decision, the overall response seems to be outrage.

Students are reported to be gathering at a Locust Grove church to picket the school board decision early Thursday morning.

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