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Published February 05, 2014, 10:30 PM

Former Shanley Baseball coach speaks out following firing over parental complaint

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The long time Baseball Coach for Shanley's successful baseball program has been fired. WDAY 6 News has learned that Fargo Catholic School officials are not renewing the contract of veteran coach, Joel Swanson. Shanley and administrators won't comment on the firing. Coach Swanson, however, has plenty to say.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The long time Baseball Coach for Shanley's successful baseball program has been fired. WDAY 6 News has learned that Fargo Catholic School officials are not renewing the contract of veteran coach, Joel Swanson. Shanley and administrators won't comment on the firing. Coach Swanson, however, has plenty to say.

In a few weeks, this State Championship Shanley Baseball team will begin its quest for another state title, but it will be without their longtime coach, Joel Swanson.

Joel Swanson – Fired Shanley Baseball Coach: “It completely caught me by surprise.”

Swanson has been the Shanley baseball coach for 15 years, but this week he was fired.

Joel Swanson: “I walk into this barrage out of nowhere, and all of a sudden and I walk out of there no longer the head coach of a the defending state championship team.”

According to Swanson, a strongly worded text message that he sent recently to players recently, urging them to get to open gym and get in shape before the season starts upset a parent. That parent called it “threatening.”

Joel Swanson: “My message was, ‘I need you guys there. Get your butt there, I don’t need excuses. One hour a week from 6:30 to 7:30 in the morning on a Thursday morning; to come in and take a couple rounds in the cage is not much to ask.”

But Swanson says, instead of meeting with him, the parent went to school officials. The Parent-Coach Conflict Resolution Procedure, he says, not followed. No meeting, except the one to fire him.

Joel Swanson: “Our administrator’s standard under these parents, these coaches saying, ‘This is our policy. If you have a problem with a coach, you set up a meeting with the coach.’”

Swanson's ties to Shanley are strong. He even got engaged on the baseball field, in front of his players.

Fargo Schools athletic director Todd Olson has no comment on the Shanley situation, but speaking in general terms about Parent-Coach/Coach-Player conflict, Olson says it has become a bigger issue over the years, as some parents appear more invested in their child's sport. His advice?

Todd Olson – Fargo Schools Athletic Director: “I think the best advice is to encourage your son or daughter to work it out with the coach. I think that’s a good lifelong skill for them to have. As a parent, if feel the need to get involved, visit with the coach.”

Joel Swanson: “The biggest problem with youth sports right now is, you either have parents who were great athletes, who are trying to get their kids to live up to what they did, or parents who did not play the sport and are trying to live vicariously through their kids.”

On Facebook today, Swanson told supporters his "Era at Shanley has come to an unfortunate end because a Mom and Dad put the codling of their child over the good of an entire team and program."

Shanley could not comment about why Swanson was fired, only to confirm he is done and a new coach will be hired soon. Under Swanson, 24 Shanley players went on to play college ball.

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