Shanley baseball coach of 14 years says contract not renewed due to parent complaint about text message

As a parent of a young baseball player, I am appalled.

I think the message that the Coach sent out is awesome and struck a nerve.

FARGO – When the Fargo Shanley baseball team hits the field this spring, it will do so with a new coach.

Joel Swanson, who started the Deacons program in 1999, was informed by school administrators Monday that his coaching contract would not be renewed for the 2014 season.

According to Swanson, the reason for the nonrenewal is a complaint from a parent of one of the players in the Shanley program regarding a text message he sent to players last week regarding preparations for the upcoming season.

Swanson told The Forum that he met with Shanley activities director Randy Nelson and Dr. Michael Smith, the Superintendent of Blessed John Paul II Catholic Schools Network of Fargo on Monday to discuss the text message. In the meeting, Swanson said he was told a complaint had been issued by a parent.

“They told me the text message was considered threatening in tone and wording,” Swanson said. “They went on to say that it violated Shanley’s values and that my contract would not be renewed.”

Nelson confirmed Wednesday that Swanson’s contract was not renewed, but declined to comment on what prompted the decision, citing the matter as a personnel issue.

Swanson, who teaches alternative education at Cheney Middle School in West Fargo, coached 14 seasons with the Deacons and was coming off of a 10-12 season in which Shanley won the North Dakota Class A state championship.

Defending that championship is what prompted Swanson to send his players the text message.

Swanson provided The Forum a letter he sent Nelson and Dr. Smith in response to his dismissal, which included what he says is the transcript of the text message he sent to the players.

The text goes into great length about Swanson’s expectations for the 2014 season and his displeasure with players having poor attendance at non-mandatory open gym sessions.

“We are two months into open gyms and obviously all of you are satisfied with last year’s title,” the message reads. “We are the team that will have a target on our backs. We are the team that everyone throws their ace against. We are the team everyone wants to beat this year. I am sick of stupid excuses to not come to open gym. … If you want to be an athlete commit to it. One hour a week is not too much to ask if you want to be an athlete.

“If you make an excuse not to come then you are telling me what kind of athlete you are. I cannot require you to come but I thought I would have a group excited to try and defend a title. Not to make excuses and not care. Some of you are not even in a sport right now, which is even more pathetic. … I will not send out another message like this, but some of you may be in for a rude awakening when the season comes and you are not in the lineup due to a younger player that puts in the time.”

The Class A baseball season opens March 17, with the first contests scheduled for March 28.

Swanson has received hundreds of emails and text messages of support following the decision, which he cites as unjust due to the lack of opportunity to defend himself.

Swanson said he was afforded no challenge to the complaint nor was he allowed to meet – in a mediated setting – with the parent that issued the complaint, which he considers to be standard practice.

“It seems like something is missing here,” Swanson said. “If they want me to step down from my position, then fine, but it was done in an unprofessional way. I was released without ever being able to talk to this parent. I wasn’t able to defend myself as far as what the content of the text message was.”

In May of 2013, Minnesota passed a law preventing parent complaints as being the sole reason for a board to not renew a coaching contract in its high schools. No similar legislation exists in North Dakota.

“It is just too bad,” Swanson said. “We have a large senior class this year and they are a good group of kids. We didn’t have the best record in the regular season last year, but they were fun to coach. … It is tough to leave that. As a coach you want to help kids and share your knowledge, but there always is somebody who seems to think that is not good enough or they can do better.”

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Allen Said:

curtikins_bac Said:
Seriously?   Ever play sports Allen?
 

Yes, football, track and field, wrestling, boxing, and bull-riding occupied a lot of my time.

And not once did I ever have a coach from any of the above sports (granted, bull riding had no organized coaching) send me a text or give me a call in the off season to rip me for not being dedicated enough to the one he coached because I wasn't at some horse crap open gym.

So are you of the opinion a coach needs to be a jack-ass to teach the fundamentals, and finer points, of being successful at a given sport?

Where was the "jack-ass" part Allen?  I see a Coach driven by Excellence & one that demands his kids that are actually going to be on the field to follow his lead.

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jiggin4alivin Said:
Lets just make high school sports like pee-wee sports. Everyone plays the same amount and no one keeps score. That way everyone is happy.

If I had to guess, I would be the sniveling parents are a more prominent family in the community. Their kid is a senior who has barely made the team each year or has made the team based mostly on his name. But now that he is a senior his is "entitled" to his playing time regardless of how hard he works.

I would hire that coach in a heartbeat.

I would bet you're right. 

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Here's the Fargo Fool'em poll so far BTW.

Poll

Do you think Joel Swanson's text message to players was inappropriate?

Results Votes
Yes
 
10
(13.7%)
No
 
63
(86.3%)
Total Votes: 73
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curtikins_bac Said:

Here's the Fargo Fool'em poll so far BTW.

Poll

Do you think Joel Swanson's text message to players was inappropriate?

Results Votes
Yes
 
10
(13.7%)
No
 
63
(86.3%)
Total Votes: 73

It doesn't matter what the majority decide any more. It's what those in charge decide.

One person or group's complaint is enough to F things up.

Get used to it in all aspects of your lives.  I don't know how we got here. I really don't. It's like there's some social insanity chemical in our food or something.

 

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 Wow; read that baseball article! Seems like kids now days are going to have a real rude awakening if they get confronted at a future job due to poor work ethic. This epidemic of parents firing their coaches is nonsense. Maybe some better words could have been chosen, but the real world is tough. The more you sweat and learn life lessons the less you bleed in the real world.

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guywhofishes Said:

Captain Ahab Said:

That message is rainbows and unicorns compared to some of the messages put out by coaches from my high school days.

with disgusting foam crust at the corners of the mouth and bits of sunflower seed hitting you in the face

Don't forget the "I'm angry dirt kick" and the famous "clipboard across the locker room".

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Does anyone close to this story know how the other players and parents are handling this? If this guy got hosed, and if this only has to do with this text I think he did, a person would think his players as well as other parents should be creating quite a stink.

I dont go around guessing cup sizes either I just know a nice rack when I see one.

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 They think this is bad they definitely wouldn't have made it when i was back in school.  The teachers and coaches could man handle you and were never told they couldn't.  Some was harsh some wasn't.  Mostly got what we deserved and you learned from it and hopefully it made you a better person, student, and athlete.  
Same with old bosses.  This younger generation is really going to get a rude awakening some day.  Never told no and don't have to do what they don't want to do.
If you didn't work at school or sports you didn't succeed.  No favorites and only the hard workers started.  Of course our parents were the same way if you had work to do you done it no matter what and it had better be done right or you did it again.  We hear parents saying their kids don't like to take out the garbage or mow the lawn or shovel the snow.  Well poor baby!  Do they think we enjoyed changing their shitty diaper?  No we didn't but it was a job and it had to be done.  Wake up people and teach the kids how to respect people and create a strong work ethic.

God, Family, Green Bay Packers!

Johnny 7

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doublebarrelsaloon Said:

Does anyone close to this story know how the other players and parents are handling this? If this guy got hosed, and if this only has to do with this text I think he did, a person would think his players as well as other parents should be creating quite a stink.

I'm trying to find out right now DBS!

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Sounds like the kid and the parents need to get off the tit!

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We live in a sad society these days. Parents straight up ruin youth sports. There just enough of those bad eggs to spoil it for everyone. As someone else stated before, the same parent would be the one complaining their kid isn't playing enough.  Our kids are starting to grow up as a bunch of sally's. What happened to being ok with loosing.Seriously? Does a kid need a gold trophy or blue ribbon for PARTICIPATION!?!?!?!? 1st, 2nd, 3rd. that should be as far as goes. That coach wasn't out of line at all. If these parents think thats the worst thing their kid has heard in school or at practice, shame on them for being too naive! WAKE UP!

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 It doesnt just stop at h.s. sports..im somewhat connected to college coaches and they have told me that parents have gotten on them about "playing time" for their kid !!  So these helicopter parents are even pushing it at the college level... wow!!   The coaches response.... ah... "you can leave now"!  
But they also say that professors have had parents call and ask why so and so got a low grade on this exam or why they got a B for the class.  Im guessing that most of these kids will be living at home until mommy and daddy go to the nursing home.  Im hoping that if these kiddos do get a job that mom and dad arent packing their lunch for them everyday.

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Good riddance. Coach is getting too worked up for off-season voluntary workouts for a walk on school sport.

I wonder if he wore his old letterman jacket and talked about the good ol' days and when he used to play

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Captain Ahab Said:

Haha.  One coach caught a guy smoking.  He asked him if he wanted him to turn him in to the school and his parents or deal directly with him.  He chose the latter.  He ran him till his legs were noodles then brought out the rack of basketballs.  He was too tired to dodge the barrage of basketballs being whipped at him by the coach.  That looked painful and I was glad I didn't smoke.

And the above is part of the problem with coaches who use unorthodox disciplinary techniques.  A good friend of mine got lippy with the football coach in junior high, the coach decided to discipline him by making him the center of a smear the queer exercise. 

He ended up never again playing football and having back problems for life due to the disciplinary technique.

In your example it isn't a far stretch of the imagination to say that he could do that hundreds of times to kids, but then one time things go wrong.  The kid either suffers a heart attack from a minor heart condition, or he takes a basketball to the face resulting in a broken nose.

Nope, I prefer coaches to be teachers of the game. 

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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nodakker1 Said:
 Im in no way defending the parent, or the snively kids, in this matter. Im from the old school as well where you put up or shut up and you do what the coach tells you to do.

But the reality of school sports these days has changed from what is was like when we were kids.  I dont know when it happened but it did happen.  Now some parents can, and if they really want to, run the show.  

They have the ability to force decisions like playing time and even so much as to which coaches keep their jobs and which dont.  This isnt the first school a parent has gotten a coach fired. 
So, this is the reality in the world of school sports today, even in conservative N.Dak.    Is it good?  No.  But this is what coaches deal with everyday.  Im getting to the point of saying that sports need to be taken out of the schools.   Run sports for kids as "club" sports.  Parents can fund, transport, schedule, coach, and run the programs themselves.   See how that goes for a while.

This didn't occur in conservative ND.  Don't lump us in with Fargo, MN.


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The sad thing is these little shits will be running the world some day!!!

TKIRK57

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It's a sad society in which coaches can't be assholes and treat a voluntary sport like slavery. I remember the good ol' days when I was beat when I didn't show up to a voluntary summer camp 6 months out of season.

Good lord, there has to be a line between respecting the kids and being a general asshole. This guy might have lasted 14 years but he crossed the line this year. You don't go after kids for voluntary workouts like that and expect everyone to pat you on the back. This isn't even about participation awards or whatever else crap people are trying to lay blame on the players/parents. Just because coaches were assholes in the past doesn't mean that was the proper or correct way at doing things.

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curtikins_bac Said:
Where was the "jack-ass" part Allen?  I see a Coach driven by Excellence & one that demands his kids that are actually going to be on the field to follow his lead.

We can start with the ridiculing of kids for not attending voluntary open gym.   Doesn't sound so voluntary in this guy's world.  Either get your butt in here during the offseason or suffer my wrath and not play during the season.

At least, that's the message I get from his words.

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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sargent41 Said:
youtu.be/uMVmhI1SUq0

Like.

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TKIRK57 Said:
The sad thing is these little shits will be running the world some day!!!

Totally, not smearing queers every day and being proper to everyone else. Sounds terrible.

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Allen Said:

curtikins_bac Said:
Where was the "jack-ass" part Allen?  I see a Coach driven by Excellence & one that demands his kids that are actually going to be on the field to follow his lead.

We can start with the ridiculing of kids for not attending voluntary open gym.   Doesn't sound so voluntary in this guy's world.  Either get your butt in here during the offseason or suffer my wrath and not play during the season.

At least, that's the message I get from his words.

Perhaps it's not voluntary in his program?  Implied, or written?

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Quincy05 Said:

TKIRK57 Said:
The sad thing is these little shits will be running the world some day!!!

Totally, smearing conservatives every day and being proper to only those that agree with their liberal views. Sounds awesome.

there, fixed it for you

 

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guywhofishes Said:

Quincy05 Said:

TKIRK57 Said:
The sad thing is these little shits will be running the world some day!!!

Totally, smearing conservatives every day and being proper to only those that agree with their liberal views. Sounds awesome.

there, fixed it for you


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Quincy05 Said:
It's a sad society in which coaches can't be assholes and treat a voluntary sport like slavery. I remember the good ol' days when I was beat when I didn't show up to a voluntary summer camp 6 months out of season.

Good lord, there has to be a line between respecting the kids and being a general asshole. This guy might have lasted 14 years but he crossed the line this year. You don't go after kids for voluntary workouts like that and expect everyone to pat you on the back. This isn't even about participation awards or whatever else crap people are trying to lay blame on the players/parents. Just because coaches were assholes in the past doesn't mean that was the proper or correct way at doing things.

Holy crap did you even read the text ????

“We are two months into open gyms and obviously all of you are satisfied with last year’s title,” the message reads. “We are the team that will have a target on our backs. We are the team that everyone throws their ace against. We are the team everyone wants to beat this year. I am sick of stupid excuses to not come to open gym. … If you want to be an athlete commit to it. One hour a week is not too much to ask if you want to be an athlete.

“If you make an excuse not to come then you are telling me what kind of athlete you are. I cannot require you to come but I thought I would have a group excited to try and defend a title. Not to make excuses and not care. Some of you are not even in a sport right now, which is even more pathetic. … I will not send out another message like this, but some of you may be in for a rude awakening when the season comes and you are not in the lineup due to a younger player that puts in the time.”

The Class A baseball season opens March 17, with the first contests scheduled for March 28.

Please highlight the "ASSHOLE" parts of this text for those of us that apparently do not comprehend wussification...


"Colorless green ideas sleep furiously"
...People who don’t understand sarcasm are awesome !?!
Jig-em-Up Guide Service | Grand Forks, ND | 701-739-9198 jig-em-up-guide-service.com

 

 

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curtikins_bac Said:

We can start with the ridiculing of kids for not attending voluntary open gym.   Doesn't sound so voluntary in this guy's world.  Either get your butt in here during the offseason or suffer my wrath and not play during the season.

At least, that's the message I get from his words.

Perhaps it's not voluntary in his program?  Implied, or written?

If that's the case, then there may be other issues.  I could be wrong here, but don't most organized athletics have rules pertaining to when mandatory training events or practices can commence?  If the coach is going to go out and subtly threaten players for not attending voluntary activities and there are limits in place, well...then he is trying to cheat the system.

I know at the pro level and collegiate level they are limited as to what they can require of athletes in the off season, am I out of line thinking there are limitations as well at the high school level?

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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The spoken word leaves no trace.

Sending texts, emails, letters, contracts, whatever is risky if your words are taken wrong.

Had he called each one, or held a group meeting and said what was texted, nothing would have come of it. When I am correcting my kids on bad behavior or the such, it comes from my mouth to their ears. When they need a talking too they get it, if I was to write it down and some nancy decides I am speaking to harshly, well then I have social services all up in my business

Neat

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Is it impious to weigh goose music and art in the same scales? I think not, because the true hunter is merely a noncreative artist. Who painted the first picture on a bone in the caves of France? A hunter. Who alone in our modern life so thrills to the sight of living beauty that he will endure hunger and thirst and cold to feed his eye upon it? The hunter. Who wrote the great hunter's poem about the sheer wonder of the wind, the hail, and the snow, the stars, the lightnings, and the clouds, the lion, the deer, and the wild goat, the raven, the hawk, and the eagle, and above all the eulogy to the horse? Job, one of the great dramatic artists of all time. Poets sing and hunters scale the mountains primarily for one and the same reason--the thrill of beauty. Critics write and hunters outwit their game primarily for one and the same reason--to reduce that beauty to possession. The differences are largely matters of degree, consciousness, and that sly arbiter of the classification of human activities, language. If, then, we can live without goose music, we may as well do away with stars, or sunsets, or Iliads. But the point is we would be fools to do away with any of them. 

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yelowjackt Said:
Holy crap did you even read the text ????

“We are two months into open gyms and obviously all of you are satisfied with last year’s title,” the message reads. “We are the team that will have a target on our backs. We are the team that everyone throws their ace against. We are the team everyone wants to beat this year. I am sick of stupid excuses to not come to open gym. … If you want to be an athlete commit to it. One hour a week is not too much to ask if you want to be an athlete.

If you make an excuse not to come then you are telling me what kind of athlete you are. I cannot require you to come but I thought I would have a group excited to try and defend a title. Not to make excuses and not care. Some of you are not even in a sport right now, which is even more pathetic. … I will not send out another message like this, but some of you may be in for a rude awakening when the season comes and you are not in the lineup due to a younger player that puts in the time.”

The Class A baseball season opens March 17, with the first contests scheduled for March 28.

Please highlight the "ASSHOLE" parts of this text for those of us that apparently do not comprehend wussification...

I don't much care for the parts in yellow, and the part in red is not only none of his damn business, it is pure assholish. 

And then the very last part, so he says if I don't come down and hang out with him, even if I am the best player on the team he is going to sit me down in place of someone who showed up at these voluntary open gyms.  What, is he that fricking lonely?

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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That's the problem, when these kids show up for the season and the guys who did show up for the voluntary time are playing better the kids who didn't put time in are going to be pissed saying the reason they aren't playing is because they weren't at the voluntary workouts. It's even happened at the big university level. University of Michigan was investigated because some scrubs got mad that they weren't getting playing time claiming it was only because they weren't at voluntary workouts, so they needed to bring legal action. The real reason was they didn't put the time in and the ones that did got better. This coach clearly stated the ones who put the time in were probably going to get playing time,probably because they will become the better players. In my opinion that was a nice way of telling guys who are members of a team they better practice a bit or they are going suck when the season starts, that isn't the case with every player but in a huge majority of the cases that's what happens.

Allen Said:

curtikins_bac Said:

We can start with the ridiculing of kids for not attending voluntary open gym.   Doesn't sound so voluntary in this guy's world.  Either get your butt in here during the offseason or suffer my wrath and not play during the season.

At least, that's the message I get from his words.

Perhaps it's not voluntary in his program?  Implied, or written?

If that's the case, then there may be other issues.  I could be wrong here, but don't most organized athletics have rules pertaining to when mandatory training events or practices can commence?  If the coach is going to go out and subtly threaten players for not attending voluntary activities and there are limits in place, well...then he is trying to cheat the system.

I know at the pro level and collegiate level they are limited as to what they can require of athletes in the off season, am I out of line thinking there are limitations as well at the high school level?

I dont go around guessing cup sizes either I just know a nice rack when I see one.

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