Coach feels unjustly removed as head of THS boys basketball team

[Editor’s note: the following letter is from Tecumseh High School’s former varsity boys basketball coach, Scott Norkey, who was recently removed from his position by Professional Educational Services Group (PESG), LLC after Tecumseh Public Schools asked to have Norkey reassigned.]

 

To the Editor,

I am submitting the letter from PESG that was provided to me. In the first paragraph of the letter are the reasons that Tecumseh requested PESG reassign me outside of the Tecumseh School District. Tecumseh continues to say that they do not hire or fire the coaches, that they are hired through a private company called PESG.

Until this situation I have never been interviewed by anyone from PESG, nor had any conversation with anyone from PESG, except when I initially took the junior varsity job seven years ago. I have never signed a contract with PESG and was never given the opportunity to sign a contract. Also attached is my rebuttal to the letter of which was submitted to PESG on November 24, 2015. I have not been contacted by PESG regarding the rebuttal.

November 24, 2015, via email:

Dear Scott Norkey,

The PESG Family of Companies constantly strives for excellence with all of our employees. The students in the schools we serve deserve nothing less.

We received a notice of concern from Tecumseh Public Schools of inappropriate/unprofessional conduct while you were providing services on our behalf. The details of the concern(s) are provided below.

It was reported to us on November 24, 2015 that you were a participant in the multiple discussions in regard to a confidential matter with an athlete that you were not privy to. Your actions towards the members of the administration have been both inappropriate and disrespectful. You did not react well when communicating with Human Resources via telephone. You then indicated you were on your way into the board office. It was requested to have law enforcement present during the discussion.

When discussing the inappropriate and disrespectful incident with you, you became visibly agitated and yelled to both officers and human resources “you know this is (expletive).” The building has removed you as an authorized service provider.

My rebuttal: My response to the letter I received today is as follows: The first sentence in the paragraph regarding having multiple discussions with an athlete regarding a confidential matter was never discussed with me by Tecumseh’s HR director. This statement is untrue, as I have never had a conversation with an athlete regarding confidential matters during my coaching tenure at Tecumseh.

I have not displayed any actions directly towards the administration and this was never pointed out to me. The HR director indicated they obtained a Facebook Messenger conversation I had with a one Eddy Foley. Eddy Foley has also been released from the school district and this conversation occurred on a personal Messenger account which the school did not have any right to access. 

Eddy Foley and I have been friends for about seven years and this was a personal conversation between friends not on a public social media site. In regards to the initial conversation with the HR director, she indicated she needed to speak with me and, when I asked her if I was being fired, she stated that they cannot fire me but they will be making a recommendation to PESG. When I questioned what this was pertaining to, she stated that it was regarding some disrespectful comments I made on social media regarding people in the district. When I questioned what type of social media, she stated that it was Twitter or Facebook. I informed her that I do not have a Twitter account and I have never posted anything on Facebook regarding anyone in the district. She then stated she would like for me to come to the board office and talk about the matter and I told her I would be on my way there. 

When I arrived at the board office there were two police officers waiting in the building, which one of them I am friends with and he has been friends with my wife since grade school. I entered the HR director’s office and sat down and she stated the school is making a recommendation to PESG to reassign me. I stated “so I am being fired” and she stated “no, we are asking that you be reassigned out of the district” and, once again, I stated “so I am being fired as the Tecumseh basketball coach?”

Yes I did became visibly agitated and upset as I have put all my heart into building the Tecumseh Basketball Program. I questioned when does this become effective and the HR director (Sara Alexander) stated effective immediately and requested I turn in my keys. I informed Sara that I was in my work vehicle and the school keys were in my personal truck. I then turned to Officer Chad Rodgers and said, “You know this is some (expletive).” I did not yell at the officers and, due to the fact I am friends with officer Rodgers, it is the only reason I said that. If that was an officer that I did not have a relationship with, I would have never said that.

My concern is that the last four sentences in the details of the concerns section all occurred after they had already made the decision to remove me as the Tecumseh Boys Basketball coach. The first sentence never occurred and they did not provide any documentation or proof that a conversation with an athlete occurred.

I never disrespected any members of the administration, and the fact that they are trying to use a conversation I had with a friend (of which the only way they obtained the conversation was illegally) should not be able to be used. 

In my seven years as a coach in Tecumseh, I do not have any verbal or written discipline actions and all of my yearly evaluations have been outstanding. If the administration and the superintendent would have addressed this issue with me then these issues would have been resolved. I have had several conversations with Sara Alexander since the initial meeting. 

I believe Supt. Kelly Coffin painted an untrue picture of me to Sara Alexander prior to meeting with her. To provide some background regarding the relationship between Kelly and myself would also assist with this process.

In the summer of 2013, I had applied for the varsity boys basketball coaching position at Tecumseh. An interview was scheduled and then cancelled, and then the AD at that time called me and requested I come into meet with him the next day. I met with the AD who informed me that I can take the position if I want it, but Kelly Coffin has another coach already lined up for the 2014-2015 basketball season. That evening I had a meeting with the AD and Kelly Coffin. At that time, Kelly Coffin informed me that it did not matter what I did that year with coaching, she was going to release me at the end of the year and bring in this other coach.

Kelly Coffin stated that if I did not take the position she would plug someone else in the position and then let them go as well the following year. Kelly Coffin indicated this new person would build a youth program and a winning program and have college coaches attend practices in reference to kids being recruited to play college basketball.

When it was brought to Kelly Coffin’s attention that this coach she is talking about brings in college capable players to the high school he was currently at, she stated that he would bring those type of players to our school. 

I made the decision to take the varsity job and that other coach never came to Tecumseh, so I remained as the varsity coach. 

Last year I began a youth program at the four Tecumseh Elementary Schools that was the first of its kind in Tecumseh and we had about 50 youth participating. 

I have not had a conversation with Kelly Coffin since that day in September 2013, even though all the items she stated this other coach was going to do to the program, I had addressed them.

 

Scott Norkey

Raisin Twp.

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Tecumseh Herald

 

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