I’ve heard some harsh reaction from high school baseball coaches throughout Southern California about Santa Monica High’s Rob Duron essentially being driven to resign because of parental interference and a lack of support from the school’s administration.
A coach of a team in Orange County said he has a rule. If a parent complains to him about a lack of playing time for their son the youngster draws a five-game suspension.
Vonnie Paysinger, the coach at Beverly Hills High, goes on the record with his reaction.
“I think Santa Monica is losing a good coach,” he told the Beverly Hills Courier. “In his two years Santa Monica was 16-4 in the Ocean League. The administration and parents were not happy with that record. I don’t think they will ever be happy. It’s sad that he was forced to resign.”
The parents’ interference began early this season.
“We won our first three games,” said Duron. “We were 3-0 and ranked eighth in California. But on the day we had our fourth game in the Royal Tournament some parents of kids who weren’t playing requested and received a meeting with the school principal. They charged verbal abuse but no examples were given that I did that.”
The principal concluded, according to Duron, that the complaints were about playing time.
Sitting in the stands at games I heard parents complaining about Duron and a petition was circulated to have him removed. Some defended him and wouldn’t sign the petition.
Matters worsened when Dan Ramos, Samohi’s assistant softball coach, wrote a letter to the editor of the Santa Monica Daily Press saying Samohi “should of gotten rid of that guy a long time ago.”
Instead of taking action against Ramos, the school’s administration did nothing. It is believed Ramos has now applied for the job.
Beverly Hills won the Ocean League championship this season, defeating Santa Monica twice. Santa Monica went 10-0 in the league in Duron’s first season.
When asked why he resigned instead of fighting to keep the coaching job Duron pointed out that many of the players are returning next season and the same aggressive parents will be returning too.
He pointed out that once players saw that the coach didn’t have the administration’s support “the problems spilled into the dugout.”
An example was that some upperclassmen were overheard rooting against younger ones who had beaten them out for playing time.
Duron strongly disputes a quote from Lacy saying Duron was burned out. He says that’s not the case and he would coach again given a more favorable environment.
If Paysinger is right, Samohi’s new coach will inherit difficult problems. If the administration, led by Athletic Director Norm Lacy doesn’t take action against parental interference, the new coach probably won’t last longer than the three years that has been the average at Samohi since 1988.