Students are the real victims in this coaching controversy

I’ll admit it: I cannot let go of the story that has roiled the Amarillo Independent School District athletic community.

An Amarillo High girls volleyball coach quit after a single season at the helm of one of the state’s most vaunted athletic programs. She was critical of the school board and the administration for what she said was a lack of support for the coach who alleged she was hassled by a parent over the playing time the coach was giving to the parent’s daughters who played volleyball for the Sandies.

I won’t get into the individuals alleged to be involved here. I do want to echo a comment made to me on social media about the collateral damage that has been inflicted by this matter.

It likely has damaged the student-athletes who play for the high school. They have been whipsawed by the tension that has gripped the AISD athletic program. They are caught in the glare of a community that has been looking a lot more closely at the program and how a future girls volleyball coach is going to respond to the tension.

The daughters of the parent who allegedly hassled the coach, of course, are the primary victims of this collateral damage. None of this would seem to be fair to them. I don’t know the girls. For that matter, I don’t know the parent who reportedly hassled and harangued the former Sandies coach.

But I do know how these matters potentially play out. I also have beliefs on how the governing body ought to respond. The AISD school board hasn’t responded well to date, as near as I can tell.

Trustees’ silence is not doing anyone any good.

I managed to attend the school board meeting when the resignation of the former coach, Kori Clements, was accepted by the board. I heard the testimony of a couple of the Sandies players who spoke in support of their coach. I am absolutely certain they were hurt by what transpired.

Those student-athletes’ needs to be considered by the school board and the administration as they move forward.

Yes, the damage has been done. It need not fester.

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