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PALM HARBOR — Disgruntled parents and some players, roughly 100 in all, met Wednesday night with Palm Harbor University school administrators, mostly coming away dissatisfied.
Former football coach Mark Haye is not getting his job back. That was probably clear when the school officially posted the opening on Tuesday, ahead of the meeting.
Haye was fired Dec. 17 after his second season at the school and is currently being investigated by the Office of Professional Standards.
The reason for his dismissal is unclear, with principal Christen Tonry only telling parents the school wants to go in a new direction. Pressed for reasons, she declined to give any, and did not offer specifics on the investigation.
She asked the parents to trust her, that Haye’s removal as head coach “was in the best interest of everyone at the school.”
County athletic director Nick Grasso went even further.
“I assure you … I assure you from what I have heard, she (Tonry) might have made a good decision,” he said.
Some parents and booster club members have been circulating e-mails demanding that Haye, who is still teaching at the school, be reinstated as coach, citing renewed interest and increased participation in the program, as well as academic improvements.
In two seasons, Haye was 7-13. Last year, the team started out 3-0 but lost its final seven games.
Tonry said approximately 30 people have applied for the position, and she hopes to form a committee and make a decision by the second week of February on Haye’s replacement.