EATON, Colo. — Tensions boiled over at a school board meeting in Weld County on Monday night with people upset about the way the district is handling the baseball coach at Eaton High School.
Coach Jim Danley has led the baseball program since 1972, capturing 11 state championships and winning 83 percent of his games.
He was recently presented with a performance improvement plan that is meant to give staff goals to improve upon. Danley says he feels like his is a personal attack.
“It doesn't appear to be a document that's well thought out or well written and seems impossible to adhere to,” Danley said.
The 13-point plan forbids Danely’s son Kirk from having contact with any member of Eaton’s baseball program. Kirk Danley has been a volunteer coach with younger players for several years.
It also mandates Danley create a handbook for players, promote multisport athletes, take an online course about safety and respect, and ensure only spring championship banners are hung in the outfield during games.
If he fails to meet any of the new requirements, he will immediately be let go.
“Many of them are unmeasurable. It’s vague. It’s confusing,” Danley said.
The issue took center stage at the school board meeting Monday night. It was standing-room only in the meeting and almost two dozen speakers from the community addressed the topic.
“This 13-point plan is wrong,” said former school board member and current State Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Eaton. “Personally, you should be fired for your incompetence.”
Not everyone is on the coach’s side. A group of current senior boys got up to express that they believe changes need to be made to the baseball program.
The boys said they are afraid of repercussions from Danley if they explore teams outside of Eaton for offseason play. Several parents also spoke against the longtime coach.
“Their spirits are broken and I don’t think necessarily by Jim but by his son,” said Melody Brown, a mother of Eaton baseball players. “Our kids are in tears. The things he says are just, you can’t even repeat them.”
While many agree some things need to change, they just do not agree with the way the board is doing it. The coach asked the board for a yes or no vote on whether he should stay or go. The board declined a vote.
It is now up to Danley to sign the plan. If he does, he will be required to follow all of the new rules. If he does not, he will not be asked back for the spring season.
The school board has responded by saying it just wants what is best for the students.
“The standard for success at Eaton is not about wins or losses, it’s about each student reaching their greatest potential,” board president Tim Croissant said from a prepared statement.