Due to pandemic-induced uncertainty regarding when sports might return, a school district in Kentucky informed all of its head coaches, assistant coaches and band directors that their contracts would not be renewed.
As reported by the The Times-Tribune of Corbin, each head coach, assistant coach and band director in the Laurel County Public Schools system was notified of the decision through an email that stated that their current contract of employment would not be renewed for 2020-21 school year.
The Laurel County Public Schools system sent out the following statement concerning the decision:
“The Kentucky Department of Education recommended that all athletic coaches receive non-renewal letters for the upcoming athletic season due to the uncertainty of when school athletics will resume. Per the order by Governor (Andy) Beshear, all athletic and extra-curricular activities are canceled through at least May 31. Additionally, per recommendation by Governor Beshear all school-owned athletic facilities and properties are to remain closed through June 30, 2020. Laurel County Schools have a rich history of athletic success. We are home to numerous district, region, and state championships! We look forward to seeing our athletes and band students back in action and showcasing their talents. We are hopeful this will be able to occur this fall, but at this time there is no definitive timeline. We will continue to wait for further guidance from the KHSAA, KDE, and Governor Beshear.”
Coaches who wished to remain anonymous in the hope they might eventually return to their positions, expressed their disappointment that they were not given advanced notice of the district's decision, nor a say in it.
“We are facing a new and challenging landscape with this pandemic, it is nice to see who has been supporting us and who does not,” one coach said. “Receiving pink slips in an email and not discussing it prior to the entire athletic staff or extracurricular activity leaders clearly shows either the administration's lack of communication and professionalism or lack of support, maybe both.”
“No high school coach gets into it to make money," said another. "Truth be known, most people would think we were crazy if they knew what it breaks down to as an hourly rate. We show up as professionals, care about the kids we work with, bare the brunt of criticism, take responsibility for how our players perform and never cry about how much we make. Getting an email telling me I would not be hired back was just another way of telling us what we do does not matter. I believe the administration believes if there is no season, then coaches should not get paid. Bottom line, we will get hired back when seasons start but they don't have to by law, to me this shows no support for the work we do. Secondly, it has never been about money to me but it does show some type of commitment to me as a person, just like a commitment I made to in the Laurel County School District.”