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Sandy loses second head coach

by: contributed photo, Former Sandy boys basketball coach Chris Meyers.

Three weeks after losing its head football coach, Sandy High School's head basketball coach, Chris Meyers, resigned.

The Oregon Trail School District announced Meyers' resignation Thursday, March 6 - five days before he broke the news to his players, and a few days after it became widely publicized that the district chose not to renew football coach Todd Quinsey's contract.

Meyers will remain on staff as a physical education teacher at Sandy.

'This decision was a very difficult one,' he said 'I did not come to this lightly.'

Many factors influenced Meyers' decision to resign, but none of it had to do with wins and losses. During his four-year tenure, Meyers accumulated a 17-39 (.303) record in the Mount Hood Conference and 27-69 (.281) overall.

Rather, the coach said he felt unwanted by some elements of the Sandy basketball community. Some of that resentment, he said, was left over from the 2006-07 season, when five top players walked off the team mid-season to protest Meyers' coaching style.

'Unfortunately, that whole situation has weighed heavily upon me since it happened and it was a big factor in this decision,' Meyers said. 'The whole thing was a bad situation that was handled badly on both sides.'

Some parents complained to district officials about Meyers

Oregon Trail School District Human Resources director Ken Bucchi said that he and Superintendent Shelley Redinger recently had a meeting with more than 20 Sandy parents.

For about an hour and a half, the parents expressed concerns regarding Meyers' coaching abilities and style.

Bucchi said the district had not yet made any decision about Meyers' future in the program.

'There was a lot of gravity that was voiced,' he said. 'We received very impassioned and specific complaints, and we would have taken all that into consideration. (But) it never got to that point.'

With his coaching style scrutinized and a host of new expectations regarding his involvement in youth and middle school basketball programs, Meyers decided to take his leave.

'I decided that when it was going to become a butting of heads or we came to a crossroad where kids were going to get stuck in the middle, it was time for me to leave,' he said. "I am just not willing to be more involved … I have four kids of my own at home and I just don't have the time to commit to giving those programs the attention they deserve."

Meyers added that he believes the administration 'had already made their minds up' to eventually replace him.

'I heard concerns that I couldn't relate to or communicate with the players anymore,' he said. 'I just got tired of fighting the fight, and I am never going to change people minds.'

Sandy High Athletic Director Courtney Murphy did not return phone calls.

Reactions

Meyers, reluctant to cast a shadow over this weekend's team banquet, broke the news to his players Tuesday morning, March 11.

His team, to say the least, was shocked, not just at the announcement, but at the reasons behind it.

'It's sad, and I am disappointed,' said senior Chris Joseph. 'I didn't see it coming, and it really upset me because we were so close this year. We really bonded with (Meyers) this season, and focused on just getting better.'

'It's strange, because I wanted to have the same coach all four years,' said sophomore Tommy D'Aboy. 'Now after two years, we have to start over. I'm glad, though, that he got us all together to explain why he made the decision.'

Added Joseph, 'First the football coach, and now this - I don't know what's going on around here.'

D'Aboy echoed, 'I don't know what's going on around here.'

Junior varsity basketball coach Colby Schlicker took offense to the complaints that Meyers didn't mesh well with his team.

'That is a shocking statement and it is totally false,' Schlicker said. 'The relationship that (Meyers) had with the players, especially this season, was amazing to watch the way they all interacted together.'

At four years, Meyers was tied for the longest-serving head basketball coach at Sandy High School in the last quarter-century.

'In the last 25 years, four years is the longest tenure as head coach for Sandy basketball, so what does that say?' Meyers asked. 'I think there is a misconceived reality in this community between the truth (about what's going on) and what people think.'

While Meyers said he is not currently seeking a new coaching job, and has no problem just staying at Sandy as a physical education teacher, if the perfect opportunity came along he would listen.

'I have been involved with basketball for almost 30 plus years, so I don't need to be a head coach,' he said. 'If something perfect comes along, then maybe, but for now I don't want to move my family out of Sandy.'