The St. Cloud School Board announced on November 3 that it would not be renewing the contract of Apollo Boys head coach Chad Keller. On Wednesday, Keller had 10 minutes to address the school board on the reasons for the decision.
Minnesota law allows the school board to renew or not renew annual training contracts as it sees fit. The law also states that the reasons for non-renewal must be provided and that the employee must be given the opportunity to respond.
The school board gave four reasons for its decision not to renew Keller’s contract:
- Failure to create a culture within the team of discipline, sportsmanship and respect for opposing players, coaches and officials.
- Failure to properly model, supervise and correct student athlete behavior in accordance with district and MHSL rules, beliefs, values and ethics.
- Repeated insubordination regarding the rules, expectations and requirements for attending district after-school programs, including, but not limited to, COVID protocols and attendance tracking for the past two seasons.
- Failure to establish positive and productive working relationships with activities office staff, activities director and principal in achieving district expectations and in adhering to sports team protocols and procedures.
“I think these topics are very vague and not to the point, but I think they must be vague because I don’t think there is a lot of substantive facts to support these four topics,” Keller said during ‘a school board meeting on Wednesday. . “I’m not ashamed of the accusations on this list. I’m not ashamed of everything I’ve done as coach of Apollo over the past six years.”
Keller offered testimonials from parents, then added context regarding his time as a coach. Keller coached six years at Apollo and four years at Sauk Rapids-Rice before that.
While at Apollo, Keller said he received two red cards for misconduct with officials after his players received seven red cards. He detailed two incidents which he said contributed to the non-renewal of his contract: an incident on a team bus after declaring that his request for two buses had been denied; the other was an incident at the gate of a venue before a game, which he said would not have happened if there had been security at the gate.
“Then I didn’t hear anything until months later after an incident with students and the athletic director at the gate before a game,” Keller said. “It would have been avoided if they had had gate security, which is again the norm in the neighborhood. It had nothing to do with the lack of discipline or respect for the adults of my players. “
“I was shocked when [principal] Alicia [Fischer] said there was an investigation into my driving at the gate and put me on paid leave for several weeks, ”Keller said. “And I couldn’t finish my season. I was not in a position to congratulate my players on their accomplishments or to be with my players.
“I take full responsibility for any team I have coached. These situations are a direct result of the administration’s failure to adopt the suggested protocols which are standard in District 742. ”
At the end of his 10 minutes with the school board, he described the high turnover in Apollo’s athletic office, with five activity directors during his six years in high school. Keller added that he has a great relationship with this year’s Director of Activities, Alex Badger.
The school board grants 10 minutes to a person to speak, but does not debate or respond afterwards.
Tami Deland, district director of community engagement and communications, said the district had “no statement as it is a personnel issue.”
The Times reached out to Keller for comment, but he did not respond to the request.
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