Fired High School Basketball Coach Blames Donors

The Arizona Republic is reporting that the boys' basketball coach at Gilbert Christian High in Gilbert, Ariz., has been fired as a result of pressure from donors. Steve Currier, who started the basketball program at the small private school seven years ago and led it to a pair of Class 1A championships - including last season, when the Knights went 32-0 - told the paper that school superintendent Jim Desmarchais contacted him at his place of employment Monday and summoned him to a meeting with Desmarchais, a major donor and other individuals. Currier said it was determined by the donor and a group of parents financially tied to the donor that his coaching style was "too negative." Replace him, or there would be "consequences," Currier claimed.

"The pressure was too great for the administration of the school, and while they openly admitted that there was no evidence that would substantiate a warning, let alone a terminable offense, they terminated me," Currier wrote in an e-mail. When Arizona Republic reporter Richard Obert asked Desmarchais to respond to Currier's claims, the superintendent wrote in an e-mail, "Thanks for asking, but I have no comment."

Gilbert Christian was 12-3 under Currier this season, with two of its losses to teams from much larger 5A schools.

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