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McHenry AD told Morris he wouldn't be back

Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 6:24 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 16, 2014 6:25 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Sarah Nader)
Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com McHenry's coach Scott Morris talks with the team during half time of Wednesday's game against Crystal Lake South on February 1, 2012. McHenry won, 50-41.

Former McHenry girls basketball coach Scott Morris was told in a March 17 meeting with athletic director Barry Burmeister that he needed to resign or he would be fired, according to Morris' letter of resignation.

In the letter, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Morris wrote that Burmeister met with him at noon that day and told Morris he wouldn't be back.

"It didn't matter to me if he resigned," Burmeister said Friday. "I told him to make it on your terms."

In an email dated March 17, Morris wrote to Cary-Grove girls basketball coach Rod Saffert that Burmeister told him, "I do a great job with the younger kids but he doesn't feel that I will be able to take the varsity to the next level :)"

When asked about the resignation April 8, however, Burmeister told the Northwest Herald that Morris was not asked to resign and that Morris had decided it on his own, choosing to focus on his new teaching position in the special education department.

In that same email, Morris wrote, "I informed him that I understand he has to do what he has to do but I will not be resigning and if he doesn't want me back then he will have to fire me."

Morris signed the letter "AS OF RIGHT NOW Head Girls Basketball coach."

When contacted Friday, Morris said he changed his mind and decided to resign over McHenry's spring break. He had coached the team for seven seasons.

In his resignation letter, Morris also wrote "[Burmeister] said resigning would be best for me. I do not respect the reference to my future special education teaching job possibly being negatively affected should I choose not to resign."

Morris said that he included that because, during his conversation with Burmeister, Burmeister stated that it might not look good to the District 156 school board if he was fired.

"I didn't think he needed to make that insinuation," Morris said Friday. "I don't think it was a threat. If they fired me, I didn't think I was going to lose my teaching job. ... I made the decision."

Burmeister said that he did not threaten Morris' special education teaching position.

"Because he and I are friends, I waited to have his evaluation until after his interview was done and the (teaching) job was secured," Burmeister said Friday. "... I'm not the threatening type at all."

In response to a FOIA request for any correspondence between the school board, principal or Burmeister regarding Morris' resignation, District 156 superintendent Michael Roberts wrote, "The Athletic Director simply told me we are going in a different direction with our girls head basketball coach and that was it. May seem strange to you, but our athletic administrator has that authority. ... No principal or board member was consulted in any way on this issue."

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