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Galena players and parents are upset about the school’s football coach being fired last week and are trying to do something about it.
They started a petition to reinstate him and have gathered more than 100 signatures.
They admit it is a long shot, but when the Galena administration let Hank Roberts go last week, citing a personnel issue, the players were concerned that they had no voice in the matter.
Christine Munro, mother of football player Will Munro, said she and the other parents have not heard from the administration or Washoe County School District about why Roberts was fired.
She said they were blindsided by his firing.
Roberts was relieved of his coaching duties on Feb. 26.
More: Roberts no longer the football coach at Galen
“We’ve been trying to get answers and they have basically shut us down,” she said.
The petition reads, “We, the undersigned, are concerned Galena student athletes who urge our administrators to act now to reinstate coach Roberts.”
Hank Roberts was 2-10 as football coach at Galena last season. (Photo: Provided by Hank Roberts)
Munro said that most of the funding for high school athletics comes from parents and that they should have a greater say in who coaches their children and if they should be fired.
“We’re completely out of the process,” she said. “We have no say in who coaches our kids and if they stay or go.”
She said Roberts had a good rapport with the kids and seemed to know what he was doing as a coach. Roberts had been a head coach in Santa Rosa, Calif., before taking the Galena job a year ago.
She said the Galena parents knew last season would be a rebuilding year and that they were happy to win two games. The team had six seniors, 15 juniors and the rest were sophomores.
She said Roberts’ firing came shortly after previous principal Tom Brown resigned and she thought the next principal should have the final say in the matter.
“Why act so quickly?’ Munro said. “Shouldn’t it be up to the new principal to see if Hank is a good fit?”
Munro admits the petition will likely have no effect, but said it is a way to keep the issue in the foreground.
“The parents are very upset and angry. We keep pushing. They need to have a policy change. Parents should have more input on coaching hires and decisions,” she said.
Roberts said he is aware of the petition, but had no further comment about it.
Munro said the Galena students will still play football next season and that many of them have been playing together since the fourth grade.
“It would be wrong not to play. That just hurts the boys,” she said. “The kids want to play, but for Coach Roberts. It’s sad.”
The Galena administration did not respond to requests for comment.
WCSD public information officer Vickie Campbell wrote in an email to the RGJ: “We encourage our community and our students to provide input on matters of importance to the District, and we appreciate hearing from our parents and students about their concerns.
“Unfortunately, I can’t comment on the matter further, as it would violate personnel policies. The public policy of the Nevada Public Records Act and the Nevada Open Meeting Law is that the character, misconduct, or competence of a public employee is not a public issue. In fact, those issues are considered in confidential executive sessions by public entities throughout the State of Nevada. The District will continue to comply with these laws, and as a result, cannot comment any further on personnel matters.”
Jim Krajewski covers high school and youth sports for the Reno Gazette Journal. Follow him on Twitter @RGJPreps. Support his work by subscribing to RGJ.com right here.