Flaws alleged in NK coach hiring process

POULSBO — The announcement of the first new head football coach at North Kitsap High School in 32 years may have to wait.

Though eight-year Bainbridge Spartans’ offensive coordinator Jake Haley has been offered the Vikings’ head position, a grievance, filed by the North Kitsap Athletics and Activities Alliance (NK AAA), claims “there were contractual gaps in the interview process.”

Trish Olsen, president of the NK AAA, said in a Feb. 2 release that, “it is in our mutual interest to reach a resolution that meets all parties’ interests at the earliest possible date.”

Several sources who declined to be named said the four candidates for position included Haley; NKHS veteran baseball coach Steve Frease; Kingston Junior High School teacher and current Vikings’ defensive coordinator Dave Snyder; and NKHS graduate Jeff Weible, hired to take over the physical education duties of former football coach Jerry Parrish.

But the decision to hire an out-of-district candidate over three North Kitsap School District candidates has caused controversy at the high school, fueled by the fact that existing NKHS football coaches did not participate in the hiring process.

“I would of liked to have been included,” said Wasser Schmitt, one of the Vikings’ assistant coaches. “I’d like the grievance to go forward, and hopefully there will be some resolution.”

“Any one of them would have made a good coach,” added Vikings’ assistant coach Virg Taylor. “But I think it would have been a good idea (to include us). We’re football guys.”

The coaches were adamant, however, that their concerns were with the hiring process and not with the selection.

“I feel really sorry that Jake’s involved in this,” Schmitt said. “He’s gotten into a situation that’s out of his choosing.”

It is not known yet whether the lack of football coaches on the hiring committee has anything to do with the grievance filed by the NK AAA. However, an article under the NK AAA contract states that the “employer will have a NK AAA member from the appropriate school and/or activity involved in the process.”

Haley said he had his first interview with a hiring committee Jan. 24. Following a second interview Jan. 28, he was offered and accepted the position.

A Bainbridge High School math teacher, Haley currently commutes from Kingston each day and has been the offensive coordinator for the Spartans for seven years and a coach there for eight. He is also a principal intern at the school this year.

Growing up on the island, Haley was the Spartans’ starting quarterback for two years, graduating from the high school in 1993. He was a back-up quarterback at Whitworth College in Spokane and graduated in 1997, before moving back to the Kitsap Peninsula.

Approval of Haley as the North Kitsap football coach will still be contingent upon the North Kitsap School Board’s approval, regardless of the grievance. The board next meets Feb. 10 at the district offices.

The grievance process is currently at “Step 3,” North Kitsap High School Athletic Director Al Gleich said. This involves a meeting between the “grievant” — the NK AAA — and Gleich. That meeting must take place by Feb. 14.

The North Kitsap School District contract dictates that if Gleich cannot “resolve the grievance to the satisfaction of the grievant, the grievant has three days to proceed to step four.”

Step four then involves NKSD’s director of learning support services, Gregg Epperson. Epperson will have three days — or no later than Feb. 17 — to meet with the NK AAA, should step three not alleviate the association’s concerns.

Should no solution be reached, the NK AAA can appeal the decision with the American Arbitration Association, who will make a final ruling.

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