Mounting pressure forced Marcellus baseball resignations, say coaches

— The now former Marcellus baseball coach Pete Birmingham told the Eagle Observer that Athletic Director Brad Dates wanted to schedule a meeting at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 20, to discuss his status as coach, a position he held for nine years.

Birmingham said that because of a prior commitment – he’s selling a business – he was unable to attend the meeting. In response, Birmingham said, he was called by Dates and told he either had to resign or be fired. Birmingham said he gave it some thought, and decided he was going to quit, so he called back Dates and informed him. He said Dates told him, during the initial phone call, that Birmingham needed to turn in his and his assistants’ jerseys and keys. Dates also requested a resignation note, which Birmingham declined to provide.

“I told [Dates] I could meet after practice,” Birmingham said. “He told me he couldn’t do that.” Birmingham said he wanted the meeting to include his entire coaching staff.

Birmingham said Dates’ response to that request was: “You think you set the criteria? You need to resign or you will be fired.”

“I’m the head coach in name only,” Birmingham said. “We are four equal parts, and that’s why I wanted everyone to be there.”

Larry Craft, Jim Alford and Mike Bome, Birmingham’s assistant coaches, confirm the story. The three said they were never told they had to resign or be fired – they say they weren’t contacted at all – but they collectively decided to quit with Birmingham. School district officials said Dates wouldn’t comment – multiple direct requests for interview weren’t returned –¬ and Superintendent Craig Tice, who has a son on the team, said because this is a personnel matter, he would not comment, either, but did grant an interview as the district’s spokesperson.

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