An eighth-grade basketball coach at Fegely (Ind.) Middle School is alleging that he was fired for being just a tad too good, leading the way to lopsided wins, such as a 90-10 victory in his team’s home opener.
According to USA Today, the Portage Township school district said Kobe offered his resignation when he stormed out of the locker room during halftime of a game. The school district says he threw his clipboard and yelled, “I’m done.”
Kobe denies that he ever purposefully ran up scores, even when his team won by 80 points against Morgan Township last November.
“I understand that we don’t want to run up scores, but we weren’t pressing, weren’t playing zone. We were playing solid man-to-man,” Kobe said. His team also shot 75 percent from 3-point range that evening.
Kobe coached the same group of boys last year and the team averaged a winning margin of 30 points per game.
After the November blowout, Fegely’s principal and assistant principal sat him down to talk about the game.
“We discussed everything from the score and how they wanted me to coach, pretty much about the (substitutions) I was making,” Kobe said. “The starters were playing less than the subs at that point.”
Two weeks after that discussion, Kobe was relieved of his job.
“It’s been painted as coach gets fired for winning or scoring too much. That’s just not it,” said Ken Elwood, the attorney representing Portage schools. “Did we receive complaints about the scores? Was coach talked to about those complaints? Absolutely."
Nevertheless, the school system maintains that Kobe gave his resignation in the form of a verbal, “I’m done,” at a Nov. 20 game against St. Paul Catholic, Valparaiso, where Fegely led St. Paul by 34-7 at halftime.