Sports

Mtn. View track coach resigns in frustration

Unlike the other Mountain View High coaches who resigned recently, Steve Kemp isn’t leaving on good terms.

The track and field coach stepped down last month after a contentious meeting with athletic director John Payne and principal Keith Moody.

In an email Kemp addressed to “parents, athletes and anyone interested,” the coach announced his resignation and provided a link to his website that offered further explanation. In the 1,070-word letter of resignation that he has since taken down, Kemp described the mood of the meeting with Payne and Moody as “sullen” and pointed to a disagreement with them on how to run the team as his reason for leaving.

In a follow-up email to the Town Crier, Kemp wrote, “Payne told me that he conducted a survey about me not developing enough of what he called ‘relationships’ with the athletes and their parents.”

In his defense, Kemp wrote, “I described to him what practices are like with one person doing the job of about three or four people. … It was Keith Moody who then suggested that we could cut the team down to a manageable number that one person could handle. … When Moody said maybe we can go to 70 or 75, I said no way would I be a part of that.”

Payne, however, denied that Moody made such a suggestion.

“It’s not true,” he told the Town Crier. “That was definitely not the issue. We want kids out there and competing.”

Payne would not discuss what the issue was, saying only, “I told coach Kemp that there were expectations that I, Mr. Moody and the district had that he didn’t meet, and he decided to step down. ... He’s an excellent coach, and we wish him well in the future.”

Kemp coached the Spartans for two years. The boys and girls teams won league championships both seasons and didn’t lose a dual meet.

“This year’s team, I firmly believe – especially the girls varsity – can be the best in school history,” Kemp said, “and I wish both boys and girls teams all the success.”

But who will be coaching them? Payne said he intends to interview candidates for the job next week.

“We’re under the gun now,” said Payne, noting that track practice begins Jan. 30.

It’s not the only coaching position Payne has to fill for the spring sports season. He also plans next week to interview candidates to coach varsity baseball and boys volleyball.

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