OUR VIEWS: Fruitport school board made right decision

May 3, 2012

It's clear from the support Pastor has received over the past six weeks that he was very popular with the young men who pledged themselves to his program.

However, that doesn't mean that the Fruitport Board of Education should cave into the pressure from those wrestlers, and other supporters, and consider re-instating Pastor as the school's varsity wrestling coach.

Pastor's tenure as the Trojans' wrestling coach came to an end earlier this spring when Fruitport Athletic Director Ken Erny chose not to renew his contract.

To the outsider, this may seem like a strange decision. In his first few seasons in charge of the program, Pastor's teams won only a handful of matches. They steadily became more successful on the mat — cumulating with this winter, when Fruitport put together one of its best seasons in recent memory, finishing with a stellar 28-3 record and the program's first district championship since 2003.

What we must ask is — does a winning record excuse a coach from taking shortcuts in several other aspects of his or her job? No.

Pastor was warned several times by Erny that, unless he cleaned up his act and began embracing all aspects of coaching — not just striving to win more matches — his coaching career would come to an end.

Pastor's personnel file is littered with language that raises serious red flags as to his handling of the program: lack of professionalism, complaints and concerns with sportsmanship, ineffective communicator, lack of understanding of procedures, inattention to details, concerns about conduct on and around the mat — and worst of all, the program's integrity was challenged.

It's clear that Pastor had a way with young men, motivating them to give their all and creating a family atmosphere that they'll remember for the rest of their lives.
But Pastor was charged with more than winning wrestling matches. He was charged with teaching the young men under his care how to handle responsibility, and how to act in a respectful and professional manner.

It's clear that, in those areas, Pastor failed — and in doing so, forfeited the privilege of coaching the Fruitport varsity wrestling team in the coming years.
 

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