Archive for Thursday, March 24, 2011

BHS boys basketball coaches resign together

March 24, 2011

Less than a month after the season finished, all three Baldwin High School boys’ basketball coaches resigned from their sideline duties.

Head coach Eric Toot and assistants Chad Scoby and Jason Crowder made it official before USD 348’s spring break started two weeks ago. All three coaches had been with the program for at least five seasons.

“Professionally, it’s probably the hardest decision of my life,” Toot said. “In my heart, I just couldn't shake the feeling that it was the right decision. I felt how things were going, for me and the program, selfishly or unselfishly, however you look at it, I thought it was what’s best for the program.”

Leaving as a whole staff was the idea of Scoby and Crowder. Shortly after the season ended Feb. 28, the coaches discussed their future together.

“It was a decision that we made as a coaching staff,” Toot said. “I asked them to take some time and think about it. They are two of the most loyal guys that I’ve ever met. From this experience, they’ve become two of my best friends that I will have for the rest of my life. When I was talking to them the decision, they were pretty adamant, ‘if you go, we’re going, too.’ They’re not immune to what’s being said. They took it pretty hard, too. We felt like if we were going to leave, we were going to leave together.”

Crowder and Scoby weren’t going to stay if Toot left the program.

“My decision was made to support my head coach,” Crowder said. “When there are people wanting the head coach gone and you 100 percent believe it what you are doing as a staff, there is no reason to hang around and coach with someone else. The decision was also what was best for my family and me.”

Scoby agreed with Crowder.

“I support coach Toot 100 percent and believe he always did what was best for the Baldwin basketball program and the young men he had the chance to work with,” he said. “When his ability to effectively run the program got questioned, we all got questioned. It's high school basketball and we did our best to help young men become better people and have fun playing a great game. I'm proud of our time as the boys basketball coaches and I enjoyed working with coach Toot and coach Crowder.”

Some negativity surrounded the program after the varsity team finished 7-14 this season. That influenced Toot’s decision to resign after five years as the BHS coach. He became the fifth BHS boys’ coach to resign in 15 years, each with negativity from outside sources.

“This is nothing new,” Toot said. “When I took the job, I thought I was the guy that could change that. I really thought I had established myself as a coach in the community that even if we had a rough time, I could get through it and carry on. I’m not being forced out. This is my choice. But the negativity was affecting the program, me as a coach and most importantly, I think it was having an effect on the kids. I thought I was going to be here for 15 to 20 years, but I just can’t get past the emotions that I have in my heart.”

Toot admitted he hoped to turn the program around when he took over in 2006. The Bulldogs won only 13 games during the past two seasons and he took credit for their struggles.

“The biggest factor and probably my biggest disappointment is in my five years I had a vision for the program and the long term of where I thought we could go,” Toot said. “The last couple of years have been tough in the win-loss column. I couldn’t be more proud of our kids and how they played.

“Unfortunately, when you don’t take care of business in the win-loss column, it allows the negative people within our community to have a voice,” he said. “I just felt I was bringing a lot of negativity, whether it was deserved or not deserved, to our program. The kids don’t deserve that. I’m willing to step aside and let them hopefully reach their potential.”

Crowder shared the same sentiment about developing the high school students into better people and not being just about wins and losses.

“I just always thought that having passion for the game, doing everything in your power to be successful and teaching young men responsibility and character were enough in high school basketball,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are some in this community that do not feel the same way. Ultimately, for some, it is all about wins and losses.”

The BHS coaches informed their players before spring break. It was an emotional meeting.

“When we broke it to the kids, there were some tears,” Toot said. “They handled it the mature way. We got a lot of hugs and thank yous, which is hard for teenage boys to do during a tough time. I know it was genuine and sincere. As I told the kids, it has nothing to do with them as kids or players.”

Toot admitted he does regret leaving now, because of the talented freshman and sophomore classes. A pair of freshman and one sophomore started this season and several others will contribute minutes in the future. He also said how proud of the players he was and he will miss them.

“The thing I’m most proud of, especially the last two years, is I never saw our kids quit,” Toot said. “They could have easily checked it in going through six and seven win seasons. Instead, they came back to practice every day and continued to work hard, were respectful and played hard. What bothers me is for some people, that’s just not enough. It should be enough.

“The kids go out and represent the community with class and dignity,” he said. “If that’s not enough, then I don’t know what is enough. That’s also on me as the head coach. I didn’t get the job done and that allowed the negativity to creep into our program. If it had been about the kids and the basketball, I never would have stepped aside. I still love coaching and being around the kids.”

Comments

Wiking44 3 years, 9 months ago

The community has no idea what it just lost.

Mr. Toot logged so many hours working with kids to get better and never got paid a dime to do it. Whoever they find to replace him will have big shoes to fill, and I'm guessing they won't spend the time to improve the team like he did.d

I left Baldwin 5 years ago and my kids moved into a 5A school system. I fully expected the move up to involve the same (or better) level of coaching as I got in Baldwin. Boy was I wrong.

The coaches from Junior High through the High School level were laughable. Zuzzio, Toot, Martin, and the Spielman's are top-notch college-level coaches. You don't just go out and find them everywhere.

Mr. Toot would open the gym to let people practice. He would run from game to game and watch with great interest the freshmen and JV squads. The coach at our 5A school would sit in the crowd and BS with other students while they played. Mr. Toot studied film of the games, meticulously kept track of stats, scouted other teams, and pushed his players to achieve.

Good luck finding a replacement. The number of un-paid hours he put in will be hard to replace. In fact, the district probably owes him at least $10,000 for the time he worked just for the sake of improving players and himself.

Sometimes it's not the coaches. Sometimes it's the talent. But that's always hard for parents to get.

Thanks Eric. My children played for you and none of us will ever forget what you did for us.

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forthepeople 3 years, 9 months ago

Baseball coach resigned last spring mentioned same type of parents. I wonder if our over paid under qualified never has coahed A.D. is listening. We lose 3 good coaches because of parents maybe even a minority of parents. Maybe the A.D. should go back being a trainer. Travesty what he lets parents get away with. It won't change in Baldwin till the A.D.has a backbone. Good luck coach Toot, Scoby, and Crowder in all you do.

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Bakerboy25 3 years, 9 months ago

This keep those coaching changes seperate. The baseball coach needed to go he was not good for the kids at all, and no I am not a parent who has a ax to grind (I do not have a child in the District). I saw pitchers abused with the number of pitches throw, I saw him embrass the program by getting ejected from games, and numerous other things. The basketball issue is more about everyone is a expert and knows more than the coach. I think blaming the A.D. is a reach and if you have a problem with him go address it with him or his boss. Blaming him for parents comments and actions is not fair in todays sports. I do agree that we will have a difficult time in replacing these 3 coaches and with no teaching positions open well you do the math (Rule 10 coaches is not a good situation at all). In this case I feel the coach proably made some mistakes but he is a young coach and I wish he would have taken the approach of maybe I can change some things and improve the program. But in no way do I fault him for not coming back, why would you want to spend the time and effort that it takes today and be underappreciated for the time and effort. Yes it is a problem but I do not think it is a part-time A.D.'s problem. And you know what else, the parent issue, it will only get worse. Some Rule 10 coach who thinks he is Bill Self is not the answer long term for these kids. This remember numerous people wanted Bill gone after his losses to the B's a few years ago, look how that worked out.

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Thad Trebilcock 3 years, 8 months ago

You know sometimes the coaches don't always have the talent they need to compete the way they would like. They will always try differnt things to get a better outcome, but in the end it all comes down to talent on the floor. And right now the boys team has been down for the last couple of years. We are not like the private schools who can get the better talented kids. There is some talent coming in the future. I really don't think it would have mattered who was coaching these teams . they wouldn't have won like you expect them too. I think also this town needs to get behind the Girls team alot better. it seems like there always playing in a empty gym. They have had really good teams these last couple of years and some really good talent moving up to the high school next year. You never know with the full support of the community the sky is the limit for the girls high school basketball team the next few years. I just think parents need to let the coaches coach. and quit worring about who's playing and who's not . Coaches should always be playing the one's that give them the best chance to win. After all there job is to try to get their team to the state playoffs. and prepare the kids for the next level which is college, which ever level they choose. and not worry about which parent they ticked off this time.

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Torch 3 years, 8 months ago

No more comments than these? Interesting.

Toot is a good coach. He had some great girls teams in the early 2000s and I remember when the parents of the boys were clamoring to get him to coach them.

One of the reasons he had good teams was because he had very good talent. I don't think that's been the case with the boys recently.

An example - Take Bill Self and send him to Iowa State tomorrow. Will he win a couple of games on coaching? Sure. But without the kind of talent he has recruited at KU he would be just another coach. You can't win races without the horses.

Good luck Mr. Toot. I believe some parents think they know more than they do.

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Spiderpig 3 years, 8 months ago

Here is the email that this parent sent to the other varsity parents:

Basically, I am deeply concerned about a few things going on with our BHS boy’s basketball program. The two most pressing issues for me revolve around program development and player development. I personally happen to think that we have had more talent and potential here at BHS over the last few years, and this year, than the six and seven win seasons show. And, clearly, we still have talented players at the 7th grade – 9th grade level right now that need to be developed properly.

I hate to say it, because I have been a staunch supporter of Coach Toot’s since he was hired, but I don’t feel he and his staff are effectively developing our players anymore, nor developing the program in such a way that it is capable of reaching its maximum potential. In short, I think it is time for a change. I realize that some of you are colleagues of Coach Toot’s, so I hope that you will understand that I still maintain a lot of respect for him, especially as a mentor to our kids, and someone who genuinely cares about them and has worked very hard for them. My concerns center only around basketball development and reaching our potential.

I am not entirely certain the best route to go about getting those in charge to agree, but I think the conversation needs to get underway. If any of you have any thoughts about this, please feel free to share.

He even went as far as letting people know that his dad should be the new head coach and mentor an up and coming coach for 3 years. This guy has harassed every coach that his kid has ever played for. I guess running the clock for Baker games makes you a basketball genius.

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Torch 3 years, 8 months ago

Stunning the amount of arrogance contained in that e-mail.

This is 4A high school basketball, not the freaking NBA.

I have news for the genius who wrote that - you won't find a coach who spends more time with kids who want to improve than Mr. Toot. The problem is that a lot of them don't want to spend the time doing it. He made himself available many times during the week over summer to work one-on-one with them. Good luck finding a new coach to do that.

Don't care if you're an X's and O's master - if your players don't want to work to improve and don't have the skills you're not going to win.

What a pompous azz this guy is - and believe me I know one when I see one because I look at one in the mirror every day.

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Julie Craig 3 years, 8 months ago

So, my point is, why let this get to you? All coaches, repeat - ALL coaches, take criticism. I don't know anyone at my workplace that hasn't had to take criticism once in a while. It's called life. It makes you better and stronger, or you quit. If the coaches have passion for BHS basketball, shake it off, take some time to think, and come back next year.

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Torch 3 years, 8 months ago

Don't disagree under normal circumstances - but unless you've lived under the microscope in Baldwin you have no idea what the pressure is like.

People stop talking to you in stores. No one looks you in the eye. Your kids come home and tell you that the other children's parents said bad things about you.

It's more than just taking criticism on the job - your whole life gets affected. That's why big-time coaches make big-time money...they're paid to do that. But in this case an extra $2,500 a year isn't worth being scorned by your neighbors.

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SpiderMonkey 3 years, 8 months ago

Agreed completely with you Torch. I know for a fact that Coach Toot had his tires slashed, his mailbox bashed in, his parents mailbox bashed in, and inappropriate text messages sent to him. Now, these could have been related to teaching but Coach Toot has taught in Baldwin for over 15 years and I don't think these things ever occurred before coaching boys basketball. Knowing this town and its parents I would not be surprised at all if it was an adult and not teenagers.

Life is too short to deal with that kind of crap for little to no monetary or emotional reward.

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SpiderMonkey 3 years, 8 months ago

It's a good thing the baseball coach was run out of town. The team (with all the untapped talent) was run ruled in both games last night to a little better than average DeSoto team. I do not root against Baldwin players/teams, but OBVIOUSLY it's not the coach. It's called a lack of talent but parents cannot admit that to themselves.

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Bloggerboo 3 years, 8 months ago

Not a very good comparison, Monkey. How many of those kids would be better if they hadn't been poorly coached over the last few years? How many kids didn't go out because the coach couldn't gain their support and get them involved over the last few years? You can't blame the new coach or the players for failures just yet...trying to on the first few games of the season is ludicrous. They both need time to adapt, adjust and learn. Really just an awful comparison that shows a complete lack of knowledge about sports.

Plus, I think they were missing one of their better players due to injury.

If they are bad and remain bad for two to three years, I might agree that there is just a lack of baseball talent, but that seems odd given the rest of the athletic talent in this district. Football, track & cross country, wrestling, etc., all seem to have plenty of talent. And I know a lot of baseball is played here at all age ranges, so it shouldn't be a lack of exposure. Really just seems like poor coaching lately.

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SpiderMonkey 3 years, 8 months ago

The basketball coaches came right in and took the team to the brink of a state berth their first year on the job. There was no problem adjusting to the new coach and system and in baseball, the fact of the matter is....you are either better or you or not. There is very little a coach can do during a game to make a difference. So, if the new baseball coach is not successful in a few years will this town turn on him and run him out of town just like has been done in the past?? There are numerous seniors on this team that have been playing varsity for 3 years. The excuse of transition is moot for this team. Aren't they all all-stars....I mean, people don't let Lebron, Wayde, and Bosh use the excuse of transitioning. If you're good, you're good (period)

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SpiderMonkey 3 years, 8 months ago

Needed to add, if you're talking about bad coaching we need to blame Rec coaches, and summer league coaches as well. The HS baseball coach has 2 1/2 months with them to develop them.

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Bloggerboo 3 years, 8 months ago

No doubt about what you say about rec and summer league coaches, in many cases. However, you do realize it is possible to inherit a good team/talented team and by the same token inherit a poor team that it may take some time to develop?

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SpiderMonkey 3 years, 8 months ago

I understand that, but the parents that ran the previous coach out claimed that the players were WAY more talented than the record showed over the past few years. This is not about developing players or creating a program. I totally agree that it takes time to do those things, but the SENIOR parents wanted Coach Hartshorn gone because they felt the coach was not utilizing the talent he had. All I'm saying is that these parents THINK their kids are way more talented than they really are. A coach, in a baseball game can maybe account for 1-2, 3 runs at the most not 15 runs which is what they lost by last night.

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Torch 3 years, 8 months ago

Sadly this doesn't surprise me. I've lived in a lot of places and never seen anything like it.

The parents and kids are the same way - choose a victim and everyone pounces while the silent majority stands by and watches. Sometimes it really seems like we have a community full of bullies. People are afraid to say something or suggest changes because of the ramifications.

The closing of the rural schools is a great example. There are people who have known each other for years who will never speak again simply because they disagree on one topic.

I wish I had an answer on how to solve that but I don't. It's just the way this town (maybe every small town?) is...at least as long as I've been around.

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