PENDLETON - Pendleton High School head baseball coach Steve Cary's coaching contract will not be renewed after coaching with the program for 25 years.

"I was pretty shocked. Hurt more than anything," said Cary, who, like all other athletic coaches at PHS is working under a one-year contract.

According to Cary, PHS Athletic Director Tom Lovell informed him of the decision May 28.

"I have yet to get a straight answer as to why," said Cary, who has been the Bucks' head coach for 10 years, compiling a record of 168-108.

"First they told me that they wanted to go in a different direction, but then they said it was because I didn't work for the school district anymore."

Cary retired from the Pendleton school district last spring after 34 years as a middle school social studies teacher.

According to Cary, he asked administrators in December of 2003 if his retirement would terminate his coaching position and was told it would not.

"Those who made the decision have not even had the decency to come talk to me about the decision," Cary said. "I think I deserve an explanation."

Lovell declined to comment about why Cary's contract will not be renewed or who made the decision.

"This is a personnel matter," Lovell said. "We have an obligation as administrators to not talk about personnel issues."

Lovell acknowledged that of the current Pendleton head coaches, only four work at the high school and a newly-hired coach works outside the district.

According to School Board members, personnel decisions are made by district administrators with input and conversation with the board members.

School Board member Pat Sullivan noted that "we have a direction that we want to go with the baseball program" and that the preference is for coaches to work in the district, although "there are exceptions."

Neither Superintendent Jim Keene nor Paul Curtis, director of secondary services, was available Wednesday to comment.

Cary led the Bucks to the second round of the Class 4A state baseball playoffs this season. His teams made the state playoffs eight of the 10 years he was head coach. He was an assistant to Lyle Phelps from 1980-1995 before becoming head coach.

During his tenure as head coach, 27 PHS baseball players received some sort of athletic scholarship.

Cary is far from satisfied with the situation.

"I'm not going to concede, unless the entire board makes the decision and not one person. I am very disappointed with the action that has taken place," he said.


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