Check Out Our Sports Photo Galleries Contact Us
Commentary: Charles deserved better from Reed administration
by Dan Eckles
Aug 08, 2012 | 9238 views | 14 14 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ray Charles learned last week he’d be keeping his teaching job at Mendive Middle School. Charles was unsure if that would be the case after he was placed on administrative leave May 2.

Charles, who was also the Reed High baseball coach at the time, was immediately suspended from that position as well, per WCSD rules that kept him away from district property pending an investigation. In mid-June, Charles was notified by Reed Principal Mary Vesco that the school would not be retaining his services as baseball coach. This, despite the fact the school district’s investigation into his job at Mendive had not been concluded.

Charles held steadfast all along that he was not being investigated for anything other than paperwork issues. He admitted he had not followed some policies regarding paperwork, but said he never endangered the welfare of a child.

That would indeed appear to be the case as Charles was vindicated by the district’s decision to reinstate him as a teacher. Given that, Charles is less than thrilled to say the least that he’s not still the baseball coach at Reed.

“I always thought you’re innocent until proven guilty,” Charles said. “That’s a core belief of our system. I haven’t been able to comment on anything. I was told to wait until the outcome. Well here’s the outcome.”

I think he’s got good reason to be fried. With the exception of a two-year absence in 1997 and 1998, Charles has coached at Reed since 1994. He was the JV softball coach from 1994-’96. He left to take the varsity softball job at Reno for two years before returning to Reed and heading up the RHS varsity softball program from 1999 through 2010. He was the winningest coach in the state during that time period. He then coached the Reed baseball program the past two years.

Charles also coached lower-level girls basketball for portions of his tenure at Reed.

On June 15, Charles received a four-sentence letter from Vesco informing him of her decision to terminate and that the school’s baseball program would be going in a different direction. After 17 years of loyal service to a school, in which he ran highly competitive programs, Charles deserved more than a four-sentence letter. He deserved the decency of a face-to-face meeting and some reasoning for her decision.

To use a sports cliche, that’s Bush League.

Additionally, Reed administrators pulled in the Raiders’ varsity baseball team and informed players of Charles’ original suspension in early May. That meant that Charles’ son Web, who played in the Raiders JV program, had to hear of his father’s suspension from other teenagers and not his father or a Reed administrator.

The hits just kept on coming. Vesco sent the termination letter so Charles would receive it, two days before Father’s Day. What happened to professional courtesy? Charles deserved some.

“I checked the mail, opened it up, read the letter and felt very betrayed,” Charles said. “For the first time in this whole situation, I felt like I was the target of a witch hunt. I felt like my baseball job was there as long as my (teaching) contract job was there.

“I just think that after all the years I’ve put in there, I felt like the administration should have called me in and talked to me about it.”

In Vesco’s termination letter, she said the school would be going a different direction with its baseball program. Charles was brought into coach Reed baseball after a hazing incident under the former regime. He was given a mandate to provide more discipline and build a more competitive and professional environment for the student athletes.

He’s done that. And oh yeah, he’s also won too. Reed was back in the postseason this past spring after failing to qualify for the regional tournament each of the prior four seasons.

“I believe in my heart, we were going in the right direction,” Charles said. “I talked to one of the guys on my coaching staff and we could name 15 things we’ve done better.

“I just don’t get it, but at the same time, I can’t dwell on it. I have to move on. People had their opinions about me, but I knew I didn’t hurt kids. I had clerical issues I needed to clean up. I have to clean up some of those things, but I don’t see why I lost the baseball job. I really don’t.”

I’ve known Ray since he began coaching softball at Reed in 1999. I’ve seen him win and do it the right way. He had the Reed baseball program going in the right direction and for Vesco to jump the gun on his firing and do so in the unprofessional manner she did, was flat wrong.

Dan Eckles is the Sparks Tribune’s sports editor. He can be reached via email at: deckles@dailysparkstribune.com

Comments
(14)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
so what
|
August 10, 2012
Witch Hunt. Give me a break, Coach Charles was the leader of a witch hunt two years ago to get the previous coaches fired. Claims of hazing going on in the program was a bunch of crap and lies. Kids were getting in troulbe outside of school when there parents were the one's who should be in charge of them and didn't want to take responsibility for their kids actions. It was easy to blame someone else since all the kids were baseball players. Coach Charles inherited a team that was a very taleneted group and really did nothing with them , just barely getting into the playoffs and go 0-2, shows the kids were not prepared. And do not blame that they were informed day before they were scheduled to play in the playoffs. A prepared and talented team should have no excuse. Being there long enough he should know how things work over at Reed and how Vesco pulls all the strings and has no idea what she is doing. She is the most unprofessional person there is. He should not be surprised how he was fired. You get what you deserve, brought it on yourself with your poor decisions before you were even the coach.
oh well!
|
August 11, 2012
C'mon, people! Football is king at Reed High. Heck, isn't the baseball field a glorified football practice field? There's really no support for baseball by the administration. Quit wasting your time.
Rolling eyes
|
August 09, 2012
Reed hasn't been loaded with talent since 2004. That team's No. 4 pitcher was as good if not better than any pitcher Reed had this year. Until Reed has a legitimate senior ace to build a staff around, it doesn't matter how "loaded" the rest of the team is. And until Reed parents stop listening to all the private instructors that give them lip service about how "talented" their kids are, they will continue to blame the coaches for the team "underachieving." You'd think with all this talent, there would be a bunch of guys with baseball scholarships.
Ha
|
August 10, 2012
I guess if Reed had a qualified coach that actually developed and promoted his players there would be more scholarships!
RealityCheck1
|
August 10, 2012
What scholarships? This is Northern Nevada. Baseball in the snow. Last years player of the year is going to Western Nevada Community College. Baseball scholarships are few and far between.
Sober up
|
August 10, 2012
Having a dominant senior ace is certainly nice, but it's definitely not required to compete in northern Nevada. Especially if you run a good, disciplined program.

You don't need a bunch of D1 scholarship guys to compete in the north, you've just got to be able to play with the 3 or 4 teams who play well each year. And as the other guy mentioned... It's baseball... Division 1 programs are allotted 11.7 scholarships per year. There just aren't many to go around.

Lastly, not sure why the negative connotation when referencing juco ball, especially one of the top 5 programs in the nation.
Open your eyes
|
August 09, 2012
As a parent that lived through the disappointment and was absolutely disgusted by him as a coach and a person, the WCSD is insane to reinstate the man as a teacher. I would be horrified if I had a female student that had to come into contact with the man daily. He has absolutely no business being around male or female kids. He destroyed what should have been one of the most successful baseball teams that Reed has seen in years. That group of players last year should have been in city championship they had so much talent but as a coach his ego destroyed the dream of 23 kids. I have watched these kids grow up since little league we knew as parents when they were 10 or 12 years old that this was a special group....so way to go Ray GREAT JOB! I really wish everyone would stop feeling sorry for Ray and look at what he has done to 100's of kids in softball, baseball and basketball over the years with his coaching style....not to mention his questionable relationships. Open your eyes people!
Look Further
|
August 09, 2012
It is unfortunate to see only one side of the issue. The Tribune article reflects positively on an individual whom many are happy to see gone. A person is not a good coach simply because they have been coaching for numerous years. (Ask the softball parents how happy they were to be rid of coach Charles). Standing on the baselines on numerous occassions you could hear him throw out these coaching comments...to his batters f---ing hit the ball to his pitchers f---ing throw strikes. Really? I question these coaching tactics as something a quality coach would NEVER speak out loud. It is called PISS POOR coaching and he was first rate! The talent on last year's team should have had the Raider's sitting atop the leader board for the season and not barely qualifiying for the Playoffs.

Now, let's all hope for the sake of the baseball program that the Reed High Administration is smart enought to hire someone who can bring immediate respect to the program. A new head coach is exactly what the program needed. With a talent packed team the coach made Reed High School the laughing stock of the baseball community, just ask the baseball players who have graduated.



AboutTime1
|
August 09, 2012
An article ran in the Sparks Tribune last week explaining how the Reed parents led efforts to improve the baseball field. It's no coincidence that all of this began following Charles's suspension as the Reed baseball coach. Parents are clearly excited about a change in the coaching position.
Life long Raider Fan
|
August 09, 2012
Charles might have been good at coaching ladies softball but his baseball was "bush league".

For as much talent as that team had, a monkey could have gotten them to the playoffs.

A guy
|
August 09, 2012
As someone with first hand knowledge of the entire situation, I'd like to offer my two cents. While I may not agree entirely with how it went down, I have no doubts in my mind that this was the proper decision. Nice guy, probably a hell of a softball coach... but not a great baseball coach by any stretch of the imagination. And let's get one thing straight, while Reed baseball had a winning season they ultimately underachieved for the talent the senior laden team had. The team won in spite of having a head coach who did a poor job of preparing his players on a daily basis....especially going up against teams coached by guys like Pete Savage, Charles Oppio and Ron McNutt. So go ahead and piss and moan about the district and the Reed admin, just realize that people who know the game think he isn't a great, detail oriented coach.
tonysam
|
August 09, 2012
Why doesn't the district get rid of Mary Vesco? Oh, they don't do anything to administrators, that's why, unless it's a promotion or a demotion. Meanwhile, teachers at WCSD continue to be treated like garbage. This guy may have won the battle, but he's nowhere out of the woods. Trust me on this one, having been through their sham "due process" hearings. He must have had outside counsel in order to have "won" reinstatement.
tonysam
|
August 09, 2012
Moreover, it sounds like principals have their own little clique so that gossip about his situation at one site traveled very fast to the other site. Both principals should be called on the carpet.
Fire Vesco!
|
August 09, 2012
I agree, shes let this school go to crap, now the kids have unis and a sweet new fence.

Oust Mary Vesco!

(I do agree with the termination of Mr. Charles and wish him luck in the future because he seems like a nice man.)
Featured Businesses