By Ray Hamill — Jackie Christensen deserved better than this.
Any coach does.
And the Eureka High administration should be embarrassed at the way it has acted — again — and the message it is sending to the Logger student athletes.
Shame on them.
And not just for the poor decisions, but even more so for the hypocrisy of it all.
A department that has preached and actively promoted a better culture for its student athletes in recent years is now creating the opposite.
Today’s lesson: If you don’t like your coach kids, just complain about them and it will be taken care of.
On Saturday, the school told baseball head coach Jackie Christensen that he was being fired, giving him no explanation other than the rhetoric nonsense of “we want to go in a different direction.”
What exactly does that mean in the middle of a winning season? Was he doing too good a job? Was he winning too many games?
Christensen was the second baseball head coach fired in less than a year, both of whom were enjoying substantial success with the program.
So what gives?
The news begs numerous questions, especially so in light of the school’s refusal to address the issue publicly.
It seems very unprofessional on a lot of levels.
Eureka High Athletic Director Kristie Christiansen did not return a phone call to Humboldt Sports to explain the decision, indicating only through an email that assistant AD Eric Giacone would take over for the remainder of the season.
She has also yet to respond to a follow-up email, two days after the news broke.
The school’s silence on the matter suggests the people who made this decision either have something to hide or that there is no substantial reason for the firing.
Christensen says he doesn’t know of one.
“Without an explanation, I don’t feel good about what happened,” he said.
This, of course, has led to speculation about parent pressure, speculation that is heightened by the fact former head coach Jeff Giacomini was let go after last season.
Both coaches enjoyed plenty of success with the Loggers, further baffling the decisions.
Giacomini led the program to back-to-back Big 5 championships, while Christensen had them in contention again this spring, riding a seven-game winning streak and unbeaten at 6-0 in league play and 10-3 overall.
Christensen admits he may have ruffled some feathers by playing some of the younger players at the expense of some seniors this spring.
It was a decision that he said was made on merit, and the team’s results would certainly back that.
At the very least, the first-year head coach did not deserve to be fired in midseason unless there was a substantial reason, and if there was one he deserves to be told what that is.
So too does a local sports community that has grown weary and critical of how the AD and the school administration is running the Eureka High baseball program.
The community support for local sports here on the North Coast is exceptional, and it’s something the area should both be grateful for and proud of.
But there’s a fine line between doing everything you can to support your kid and ruining it for everyone else.
Actually, it’s not that fine a line. It’s pretty obvious to anyone with any common sense.
Let the coaches coach.
Over-intrusive and often delusional parents recently forced Ryan Bisio out of Arcata, and almost cost Steve Thrap his job at St. Bernard’s, all within the past year alone.
It has become a major concern in local sports.
And now, unless Eureka High is going to tell us anything different, we can only assume the same has happened there.
Shame on the school powers for doing what they did, the manner in which they did it, and the message they are sending to their student athletes.
Eureka High School deserves better.
Jackie Christensen deserves better.