An overflow crowd packed the Peninsula School District school board meeting in a show of support for embattled Gig Harbor High football coach Darren McKay.
For the past four months, McKay has been fighting the district’s decision to put him on an improvement plan that required he fire his father, Mike, and brother Sean from his staff.
Some of the 35 people who spoke on behalf of McKay said the district used a handful of comments from anonymous online surveys to form the basis of its judgment – one they believe is inaccurate.
Tyler Lee, a senior football player, questioned the veracity of the anonymous claims and urged the board to listen to those in attendance. “You can see our faces right here,” he said, gesturing to the audience.
Bill Glover, father of a senior football player, expressed his disappointment at how the review process for coaches has been handled by administrators.
“Railroading of these guys out of here isn’t the right way to do business,” he said, drawing applause.
The fall season was the first instance of the district soliciting information from parents of student athletes via anonymous online surveys. Superintendent Terry Bouck said the district did not distribute surveys for the winter season and is considering whether it will continue the practice.
McKay received a positive end-of-season review in December from athletic director Dale Johnson. Days later, he was called into a meeting with principal Ted Strong and Johnson.
Strong, who last month was placed on administrative leave after being arrested for misdemeanor DUI and hit-and-run, revealed to McKay the results of the survey and told him he would be put on an improvement plan, and his father and brother were no longer allowed to be on his coaching staff.
McKay filed a grievance.
Ray Garries, chairman of Gig Harbor football boosters, and others said they won’t be satisfied until the three McKays are coaching again and receive an apology.
McKay, who has coached and taught at Gig Harbor for 12 years and has record of 77-41, did not attend the meeting. When reached by telephone Thursday evening, he declined to discuss his grievance but said he was thankful for those who spoke out in support of him.
“Those people at the board meeting, a lot of them volunteer for the program and put in lots of time,” he said. “Their voices should be heard.”
Doug Pacey: 253-597-8271 firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DougPaceyTNT