Cal High basketball coach 'forced to resign,' implores school board to change policies
Original post made
on Dec 3, 2012
In a tearful, impassioned speech to San Ramon Valley Unified's Board of Education on Nov. 13, California High School's Bob Donovan implored the school district to change its policies regarding parent complaints. Donovan, who coached men's varsity basketball for the past two years and from 1983-1990, was allegedly forced to resign amid unsubstantiated accusations.
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posted Sunday, December 2, 2012, 8:39 PM
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Posted by Bayareamom
a resident of Danville
on Dec 4, 2012 at 12:09 pm
I'm really glad you printed your own personal history with the district regarding this issue. It helps me to realize that perhaps my own 'intuition' isn't too far off on this one.
Here is the statement I just posted at the 'San Ramon' side of the Express. For whatever it's worth, I'll print it here, as well.
I never knew this situation had occurred with Donovan until just a few days ago, so granted I have no real definitive background information regarding this incident (other than what I read in the Danville Express and then researched later on via the Internet).
But having said that, it seems to me that if what Coach Donovan states is true (and thus far, I've not seen anyone refute this), then he was FIRED for having brought Coach Phelps into an open gym to view, along with another coach, that day's practice.
So from a potential legal standpoint, not to mention a moral one, the decision of this District to fire Donovan because of Phelp's appearance in that gym, was entirely incorrect.
I mention legal standpoint because as I've stated above, the complaint against Phelps was dropped!
It is my understanding Phelps had ONE complaint lodged against him in 2010 - a complaint of which 'accused' Phelps of a lewd act SOME 40 YEARS PRIOR (back in 1966). The case went all the way to the Supreme Court; that charge was DROPPED because it failed to meet the statute of limitations time limits.
So in viewing this incident objectively as possible, I don't care what some folks may or may not feel about Donovan from a personal/emotional standpoint. The facts APPEAR to be that a complaint was lodged against Donovan (complaint number one). Said complaint was investigated; Donovan was fully exonerated AFTER a student admitted that Donovan never dropped the "F" bomb in front of the Coach's students. This said student allegedly stated (according to various reports), "The Coach doesn't use that kind of language."
Yet another complaint ensued (again via anonymous email). This complaint was also investigated and once again, Coach Donovan was exonerated.
Finally, another complaint ensued, at which time Donovan was called back into a meeting to discuss PRIOR complaints of which he had ALREADY BEEN EXONERATED.
Then the ball was dropped on him and he was FIRED by this District because, as Donovan states during his speech before the Board, because he had asked Coach Phelps to preview - IN AN OPEN GYM - the team's practice that day. Another coach was asked to view this practice, along with Phelps that day.
From a legal (not to mention constitutional) standpoint, by all accounts Coach Phelps, SHOULD BE presumed INNOCENT; he has NOT charged with a crime. Period.
Phelps' career was ruined with this ONE complaint and it has obviously followed him throughout his entire career. YET, he continues to coach, not only for various high school teams, but at the collegiate level as well.
If Phelps was your husband, son, or just a beloved friend, how would any of you feel if this had happened to them - and he was actually innocent? How would you feel if Phelps was YOUR friend or loved one and this one complaint was lodged against him because of a personal grudge by someone - perhaps a disgruntled parent? And that ONE complaint, perhaps lodged against him by a disgruntled parent and/or student, followed him throughout the entirety of his career?
I have seen this type of behavior on the part of parents repeatedly (and not just in this district). Look, we all love our kids and want the best for them. There are times when parents DO have legitimate reasons when filing complaints against various personnel in this district (I should know, I've been one of those parents).
I used to play in what they called Ponytail Softball, starting back when I was ten years old, all the way up to the age of eighteen years. My memories as to how our parents behaved, are absolutely atrocious. My own parents (one a former high school cheerleader, the other a typical high school jock), were in some ways every bit as controlling and complaining as the other parents. I witnessed for myself how vicariously parents can live through their kids during these sporting events. It's just absolutely unbelievable.
Our kids have GOT to grow up in this world and understand through compassion, empathy and understanding that NO ONE IS PERFECT; we all make our mistakes. We've taught our son, now nineteen years old, that he won't always have Mommy and Daddy to stand up for him; that he will have to learn to advocate for himself eventually. I have warned him that he will most likely, at some inopportune time, run up against a bully or two, a teacher he won't like, a landlord he won't care for, etc. That's life and he'll simply have to deal with it.
I may not have all the details regarding the above issue, but I can darn straight smell something's afoul, nonetheless.
Still, I'm just heartened to see all the support Coach Donovan had during that board meeting; wish I'd been there. I would have been another supporter.