James Gray was dismissed as head football coach at Mammoth High School after a meeting with school officials Tuesday, and Gray is not happy about the situation.
Retiring MHS principal Mike Agnitch said he and incoming principal Gabe Solorio informed Gray that he was relieved of his duties with Huskies. Gray was named head varsity coach last year after Tom Gault retired after 25 seasons at MHS.
Mammoth, however, did not field a varsity football team during the 2009 season. Gray, a longtime Mammoth Youth Football coach who played for Gault at Mammoth High School and was recently an assistant varsity coach, was hired last spring, meaning the first-year head coach had a lot to do in a little time.
But the Huskies never played that varsity campaign, mainly due to ineligible players and not having enough athletes for a competitive 11-man varsity team., Gray said at the time. Mammoth did play a few 8-man varsity games, and the junior varsity team was competitive.
There was a bit of confusion this morning when Sierra Wave first reported the story on KSRW-FM. Agnitch said during the meeting with Solorio and Gray it was “mutually agreed we would go in a different direction.”
After Gray heard the report during the 7 o’clock sports segment, he called the station and left a message, vehemently denying he wanted to leave the Husky football program.
Agnitch said later in a phone interview with Sierra Wave he had “misspoke,” saying he wasn’t clear, and it was mutually agreed between Solorio and Agnitch that Gray would be replaced.
Gray’s phone message conveyed his feelings.
I need to let it be known it’s not mutual, this is not a mutual decision. I walked in on Tuesday for a meeting with the incoming principal just to open the lines of communication between he and I, and I got bombarded by Mr. Agnitch joining us in that meeting and telling me that I was no longer going to be the coach.
Gray continued: No idea; totally out of left field. There was zero discussion. It was not mutual. I am so (angry) … it’s politics, I ‘m angry at the school, I’m angry at the superintendent because I know that it’s coming down from there.
It’s just a bunch of baloney the football program’s got some problems … I’m really disappointed.
Superindent Rich McAteer said this afternoon the decision to release Gray was made by Agnitch and Solorio.
“They made the decision, and I said it was fine by me,” McAteer.
Agnitch said Mammoth High School will advertise for a new coach “and get the best person possible for the job.”