Coach has been positive, encouraging influence
Your editorial decision to publish the article on Mike Kelly (Gateway, May 24 issue) is not responsible. If inappropriate comments made by us or yourselves were all published in the paper as accusations your paper would overflow every day. The offended student and parents seem to be following a set of actions intended to destroy an individual as opposed to addressing a single complaint. That could imply motives beyond the accusations.
Your article gave no indication of interviewing other parents or students who have swam under Mr. Kelly. I have had two granddaughters who have swam their entire high school years under Mr. Kelly. They respect him as a coach and have never encountered any sexual harassment. Were they to have been concerned about any behavior they would have properly addressed it with the school administration and not by making publicly visible damaging accusations. Mr. Kelly has been a positive, encouraging coach for both girls as they matured as young women and athletes. He deserves that recognition, not publication of an accusation by one athlete.
Dan Lott, Gig Harbor
Swim coach motivates his athletes to be the best
In my five years of practicing with Mr. Kelly as my coach, never have I seen any behaviors which have lead me to believe that there is any truth whatsoever behind the sexual harassment accusations made against Coach Kelly.
The article that was written about the accusations against Mr. Kelly is completely one-sided. Ask any person who has met Mr. Kelly, and they will tell you that he is not what your article insinuates and depicts him out to be. History reflects this, as this is an isolated incident. Since I met Mr. Kelly in 2010, I have known him to be nothing but an encouraging coach, who constantly motivates his athletes to be the best they can be.
While practices for some sports teams may be closed to the public, Coach Kelly has always welcomed (and encouraged) parents to attend practices. Reading your article about Coach Kelly makes me extremely discouraged in the journalists of your organization.
Jenna Anderson, Gig Harbor
Innuendos should not be news
All we can report on is our experience.
I had a daughter who swam for Coach Mike Kelly for four years. Coach Mike has been nothing but a professional, caring coach with a heart who inspired the girls and boys to swim hard, stretch goals, make good choices, go to bed early, eat healthy — give your all and achieve their personal best. Would we rather have a coach who could care less?
Our daughter never once felt like Mike was inappropriate. Rather, he inspired her to get up at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesdays to do doubles because he helped her see how important it is to have integrity, be on a team, give your all, and be proud of yourself. How hard to be a coach and have a family retaliate.
And if more people in the world had integrity and the garbanzos to stand up for what is right, it would be a better world.
Michelle Bailey, Gig Harbor