School district: Gulf coach ousted for inappropriate text messages



MORE from our HomeTeam writers.

More Video



Tue. May 29, 2012 | Matt Baker | Email

Gulf boys basketball coach Jeffrey Shank said last week that he resigned to spend more time with his family.

But Pasco County School District spokeswoman Summer Romagnoli said Tuesday that his contract wasn’t renewed because of inappropriate text messages to a female student.

According to the school district, Shank exchanged texts with the student at 10:45 p.m. on Friday, May 11. Shank told the student she should have come to class to work on a project.

“BTW we need to chill one day,” Shank continued.

The girl responded, “LOL yeah definitely.”

“Especially after the way (your) a-- looked at me today LOL,” Shank replied.

The girl’s parent took the text messages to the district, and Shank was put on administrative leave pending an investigation, Romagnoli said. Because Shank, a Gulf science teacher, was in his probationary employment window, the district let him go.

“We felt like those texts were inappropriate, so we released him from his contract,” Romagnoli said.

Shank’s termination — effective May 24 — is listed on the June 5 school board agenda.

Tuesday’s news contradicts what Shank told the Times last week. He said at the time that he resigned to spend more time with his infant son and 2-year-old daughter.

“What I always try to tell the kids is, family comes first,” Shank said then. “I’m trying to live by that example. Family is first.”

Romagnoli confirmed Tuesday that Shank did not file a letter of resignation.

Shank did not immediately return a phone message Tuesday evening.

The job has been posted on the school district’s website, and Gulf athletic director Travis DeWalt said last week that he wanted to fill it is as quickly as possible.

Shank, a former Seminole assistant, took over in August and took the Bucs to a 10-14 record during his only season as a head coach.

Times staff writer Jeffrey Solocheck contributed to this report.

Matt Baker can be reached at mbaker@tampabay.com

Teams in post


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours