It looked real. It sounded real. By Wednesday the firing of Sunblasters head coach Curt Pickering was as real as it gets. "He is officially fired," Sunblasters general manager Scott Barrett said on Wednesday. "We showed him the forms last night. He is gone."
Later, Pickering sounded off.
"I think the problem is that we are dealing with somebody who is incredibly erratic, has no experience, and really has no integrity," Pickering said of Barrett.
The Sunblasters also released 6-foot-10 post player Keith Lee, a former Memphis State All-American who was averaging 11 points per game.
Tuesday's pink slip was the second in just over a week for Pickering. The first firing came just two days before the team's June 5 opener against the Miami Tropics. That lasted until the end of the team's practice session that night, when he was reinstated after a parking lot discussion with Barrett. Now with the team 1-3, Barrett felt it was time for a change.
"Curt's not a bad guy, but it was like oil and water here," Barrett said, "This situation just wasn't right for him. He can say what he wants; he's the ex-coach."
An unpaid ex-coach at that, Pickering said. He produced a $1,000 paycheck that he says has bounced for the past week.
Barrett said he put a stop-payment on the check because of unauthorized expenditures Pickering charged to the team. He said the team still owes Pickering about $274, but not $1,000.
Scott Adubato is the interim coach, while the team looks for a full-time replacement.
The main source of friction was the issue of personnel decisions, an issue Pickering had thought was moot.
"I have a lawyer who will verify that Scott Barrett said to me, "Curtis, you have the final word on player personnel,' " said Pickering, who said he was nominally the director of player personnel as well as head coach. "If I didn't have the final say, I wouldn't have come in the first place."