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Star-News (Wilmington, NC)
HAMPSTEAD — Pender County Schools will not renew Topsail High School Baseball Coach Aaron Rimer's contract for the 2018-2019 school year.
The move was confirmed in a June 15 letter obtained by the StarNews. Pender County Schools have been investigating the county's athletic procedures since early May. Spokeswoman Miranda Ferguson confirmed Friday Rimer had been suspended with pay. She did not offer any details about why he was suspended. Ferguson did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Rimer's firing.
In the letter, signed by Pender Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Hill, the school board informed Rimer his contract was not going to be renewed and that his request for a discretionary hearing was denied.
Rimer declined to comment Monday.
Rimer's firing is the second personnel move since it was discovered the Topsail baseball team used an ineligible player, which cost them a chance to compete for a state championship.
Topsail High School athletic director Barry West stepped down in May. His resignation came in the wake of Pender County Schools confirmation the Topsail baseball team violated the N.C. High School Athletic Association's eligibility regulations.
Senior Alex Postma was deemed ineligible. The Pirates were forced to forfeit 16 wins in which he was in uniform, turning their on-field record of 17-6 to 1-22. A school's athletic director has the sole responsibility for checking eligibility, according to the Pender County Athletics manual. Coaches do not have access to a student's grades, except for those enrolled in their classes.
At last week's Board of Education meeting, several parents voiced support for Rimer. Some seemed to call for personnel action against Topsail High School Principal Berry Simmons, though they had to dance around a school board rule forbidding speakers from targeting Pender County Schools employees during their comments.
Parent Ame Frey, whose son Petey was a senior on the team, said Rimer and his wife were a "positive presence" on and off the field.
"Coach Rimer has been an incredible role model at all times for these kids and it's a shame that the kids will suffer again at the hands of the adults who don't care about them," she said. "It's a shame that these kids won't have the same opportunity my son had the last two years and I pray that wherever they go they get treated with the respect they deserve."
Reporter Kevin Maurer can be reached at 910-343-2070 or Kevin.Maurer@GateHouseMedia.com
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