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Orange County Register (California)

Jay Creps wants his job back.

Creps was fired as Chatsworth's softball coach in early June after a parent turned in a photo of him drinking beer at a team gathering that occurred within the past couple of years. Creps, who coached Chatsworth the past five seasons, retained an attorney to fight for due process.

Related: Coach Photographed Drinking Beer Around Players Fired

His attorney, David Rosenberg, sent a letter to Chatsworth Principal Tim Guy last week asking for a hearing for Creps. He said he was told the letter would be passed on to the Los Angeles Unified School District.

A petition created by one of Creps' former players with the goal of saving Creps' job had 526 signatures as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, including Olympic gold medalist softball player Crystl Bustos. Creps said he doesn't believe he should lose his job because of a photo taken at a team barbecue in his backyard, submitted by a parent "that's mad because their kid wasn't starting."

"I don't think I've ever done anything at Chatsworth that's detrimental to the school or the program," Creps said.

Creps said the team has had the barbecue in question at his house in Valencia every season after an early-season tournament at Hart in Santa Clarita. He said it is a team bonding gathering: This year, players broke into groups of five or six and held a poster-making contest, with the parents acting as voters.

Guy, the Chatsworth principal, and Chatsworth athletic director Jonathan Sheriff referred comment to LAUSD's Office of Communications.

A public information officer for LAUSD said no further comment could be given by the district because the case "is a personnel matter that requires privacy."

The officer did provide the LAUSD policy on a drug, alcohol and tobacco-free workplace, which prohibits "the manufacture, sale, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of illicit drugs and alcohol by employees in all workplaces."

Creps said he had never seen the "policy bulletin," but would understand if he was suspended or reprimanded for the photo. But the former coach, who is deeply involved in Amateur Softball Association softball in California, doesn't think it should cost him his job.

He said a parent started a "crusade" against him, even following him to lunch to try and get a photo of him drinking. He also said he has received support from his varsity parents in the aftermath of his firing.

"I'm greatly disappointed. I'm devastated about it," Creps said. "All my parents call me at night or text me during the day."

Chatsworth reached the L.A. City Section Division 1 championship this season, losing to Carson. It was the second time in Creps' five seasons that the Chancellors finished as City runner-up.

Rosenberg, Creps' attorney, is also a softball umpire who met Creps when both were umpires years ago. He said one obstacle is the contracts in LAUSD are yearly, so Creps' employment was up at the end of the school year. But he still believes Creps should receive a hearing to discuss the matter.

"It's a shame that things happened, like I said, without due process," Rosenberg said. "And I think that's the thing that bothered me the most."


mcooper@losangelesregister.com

July 3, 2014
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