By Ron Rop
Jim Goorman deserved better from the administration at Western Michigan Christian High School.
Goorman, 66, was, in essence, fired after 44 years of teaching and coaching at the school.
For starters, where was the respect for a man who has been a faithful servant of that institution since the 1960s?
Why couldn’t the administration sit down with Goorman and negotiate an amiable parting of the ways? Instead, the hammer came down, no questions asked.
The longtime Warriors’ coach said he was “blindsided” when informed by principal Doug Doty that he would not be coming back as one of the school’s athletic directors and he was being relieved of his coaching duties after a successful 33-year career as the boys varsity basketball coach.
Local Sports Journal attempted three times to contact Doty and phone calls were not returned. School board president Scott Meyers was reached via cell phone, but he refused to comment, saying he preferred not to discuss personnel issues.
Both Doty and Meyers have the right to offer “no comment” but wouldn’t you think they’d want the school’s constituents to be informed of their reasoning behind their decision? The decision has been made, now explain your reasoning. Don’t just brush it under a rock and think that everything is all right.
This was a perfect opportunity for Doty to back up his action, but he chose not to. Word has been leaking out to WMC parents and players. I’m certain his phone has been ringing off the hook and the inbox of his email might be busting at the seams.
He chose not to even offer Goorman the respect of the old company line. Something like: “We thank Jim Goorman for all his years of service to Western Michigan Christian High School.
Nope. Not a word.
Why do coaches get fired?
Losing year after year after year? Does not apply in this case. Five state titles, including three straight in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Add to that his induction into the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Hall of Fame last fall and you can see what kind of respect Goorman has from his peers across the state.
His peers have high respect for him, but the WMC administration doesn’t.
What about complaints from parents? It does happen, but if school administrators caved in every time they had a complaint from a parent, athletic directors would constantly be searching for new coaches. Most complaints come from disgruntled parents who want to get in a parting shot on the coach who didn’t give their child enough playing time.
I’ve been hearing rumbles about this situation for several weeks. I’ve heard the rumors and I’ve talked to Goorman about it more than once.
He is devastated. He’s given so much yet, in return, he gets shown the door.
Hopefully, school administrators will at least attempt to “make good” of a mishandled situation.
But then again, I’m guessing it’s too late for that.
Ron Rop is a contributing writer for the Local Sports Journal who has covered Muskegon area sports for more than 31 years. He is a 1980 graduate of Western Michigan Christian High School.