Et Cetera

The jury is still out

July 5, 2013 

After our story about local high school baseball coaches, we heard from several parents who had not spoken with us before.

They sharply disagreed with others cited in the report (CHN, June 30), which said Randy Trumbower was expected to return as head coach of the Chapel Hill High School baseball team.

“This is not over,” one parent said in an email.

According to two different sets of parents, at least five families have lodged complaints with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system about Trumbower’s coaching, calling it abusive .

The allegations are just that – one side of the story.

Trumbower has declined to comment, saying he wants to avoid antagonizing anyone. But he expects to return as head coach.

Attempts to contact school system officials last week for comment about the situation were unsuccessful.

Parent complaints are common in high school sports. (See the 1986 film “Hoosiers” for a classic portrayal of parents versus coaches.)

Often, the problem stems from simple differences of opinion – over playing time, about strategies, or personalities. “Why don’t they pass/run/shoot/defend/attack/speed up/slow down/substitute more?” is just about a universal question from at least one parent at every sporting contest.

But sometimes the situation is more serious.

In the case of the Chapel Hill baseball coach, parents have made specific allegations against the baseball coach, claiming his interactions with their children have had a negative impact.

Unlike many claims at other schools in the past, where many of the reports are hearsay – a parent repeating what their child or another parent has said to them – at least one parent of a Chapel Hill player claimed to have witnessed coach-athlete interactions that violated school policy.

Multiple parents contacted the News with complaints, some involving their own child and some involving teammates.

At least one player quit the team in midseason, citing deep personal differences with the coach. Attempts by the school to reconcile these differences failed.

None of this was reported to the News until after our article was published.

Parents told us that all of the criticisms of the coach were reported to the principal. Melodie Parrish was the interim principal at Chapel Hill High School at the time and passed the reports onto Lincoln Center, the school system’s administrative offices, after meeting with several concerned parents.

Being a personnel matter, any official record of these complaints are, by law, kept secret. School officials typically will not comment on personnel matters – either to confirm or deny accusations.

Parrish’s term as interim principal ended June 30, just at the time of the fiscal year when most coaching contracts are ended and/or renewed.

Sulura Jackson has since stepped into the role as Chapel Hill High’s principal.

According to one parent, Trumbower is expected to meet with players and their families this week to formally apologize for past behavior.

The jury is still out on whether or not that would be sufficient for him to retain his position as a coach.

Warnock: 919-932-8743

Chapel Hill News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service