Editor’s note: This has been corrected from the print version to accurately reflect Steve Hutcherson’s coaching experience.
It’s a word that contains only three letters. And yet it asks a very powerful question.
That’s probably what a lot of people in the Grapevine-Colleyville area are asking after another off-the-field athletic event that put the GCISD in an unflattering position.
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The apparent leading candidate for the Grapevine baseball job, Jason Wilson of Frisco Centennial, was told he had the job – until he was told he didn’t have the job. To recap his account from last Thursday, GCISD Athletic Director Bryan Gerlich called Wilson and extended the offer. Wilson accepted. Gerlich called back a few minutes later and told Wilson he had to rescind the offer because he was told to by Superintendent Dr. Robin Ryan. This is all what Wilson told us.
Why did this happen?
Why did the superintendent tell the athletic director to rescind the offer?
Why couldn’t the new athletic director be allowed to do his job and hire the candidate that two different committees believed were the right fit for the program?
Why did the process of hiring Lee Yeager’s successor come to this?
Why did current GHS assistant Steve Hutcherson take this job after seeing two other quality coaches in Wilson and Irving Nimitz’s Robert Mendoza no longer be candidates?
These are questions that may have immediate answers or none at all. In fairness, Ryan does reserve the right to overrule any hiring. But when you’re talking about a process that appeared to go on as scheduled and then suddenly collapse the four days before Monday’s school board meeting, it does make you wonder why the parts don’t seem to fit.
Obviously, Hutcherson could be viewed as the one who saved the district by taking the position. It’s not his first head coaching assignment, as he has six years at the helm of a team, according to his bio on the Grapevine baseball website, and most recently was head coach of Class 4A Lampasas. He wants to be a head coach again. What’s disappointing is a great baseball job at Grapevine has lost some of its luster.
We probably would not have known any of this had Wilson not disclosed it. But that’s how it works in our industry. As you read last week, we gave Ryan a chance to respond. That message was not returned, but we had a story to report.
For about the last 18 months, the campuses at both Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage have experienced extreme unrest and turnover. In that time, Gerlich has become the third athletic director. Hutcherson is now the fourth baseball coach at Grapevine. Joe Willis is now the third head football coach at Colleyville Heritage.
The aspirations of this district to produce state championship-caliber programs will be harder to realize when episodes like this occur. Moving forward, the GCISD will have to do a lot more in order to attract and secure top quality coaches.
What candidates want to see is if every level of the district – from the principal to the athletic director to the superintendent to the school board – agrees upon the same and consistent message to reach those aspirations.
Given what happened, I don’t know if we’re seeing that right now.
When you look at Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage, there has always been the potential to win big consistently. Grapevine is now in an excellent position at the Class 5A level. Colleyville Heritage has a great drawing area and just needs that final push for it to make deep playoff runs in every sport instead of only bi-district appearances.
This district is capable of great things. We’ve seen it in the 1996 and 1998 Grapevine football Class 4A state championships, the 1999 Colleyville Heritage girls soccer 5A state championship and most recently the achievements of Grapevine cross country, team tennis (which won state) and girls soccer.
Time and reflection will heal. For now, the GCISD school board and Ryan have a perception problem to fix.
The GCISD cannot afford for another issue like this to surface again.