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Loss of assistant causes Bayly's departure

When Lakewood softball coach Kaylyn Bayly's assistant Jill Casey resigned earlier this month, Bayly had no choice but to quit also, she said.

Casey resigned after an argument with a Lakewood baseball player over the use of the school's batting cage. That left Bayly without a resolution to a scheduling conflict between her coaching duties and her teaching job at St. Petersburg Challenge, a school for youngsters who are potential dropouts.

Bayly, who was named the Pinellas County Athletic Conference volleyball coach of the year after leading the Spartans to the state volleyball tournament last fall, was beginning her first year as the softball coach. She says she will continue to coach the volleyball team.

"As I told the principal before I took the job, an assistant coach will play as important a role as the coach if I take the job," Bayly said Wednesday. "Jill Casey and I have similar philosophies and our goal was to turn the program around together."

But Casey resigned following an argument with the baseball player, whom she said threatened her with a bat. She was not satisfied with a five-day suspension the player received from administrators and is seeking misdemeanor assault charges. The player is not being named because he is a minor.

Bayly, who was not present during the verbal altercation, has sympathy for Casey.

"In my opinion, she should have been talked to by someone (administration)," Bayly said. "That's the thing that I couldn't understand. It's just unfortunate the whole incident ever happened."

The player denies threatening Casey. He was suspended using obscene language and was prohibited from playing in a preseason tournament. Two days after the Feb. 9 incident, he wrote a letter of apology to Lakewood principal Walter Hall, admitting he used profanity and asking for "the mercy and forgiveness of the concerned administration staff for my conduct."

Hall was away from the school Thursday, but his secretary said that school officials will have no comment on the issue.

"I love coaching," she said. "If I did teach at (Lakewood), I probably would still be coaching. But I did not feel like I could find someone else with the same philosophies and commitment."

That schedule was the main reason Bayly had to resign, she said. She doesn't get out of St. Petersburg Challenge until 3:30 (high schools get out at 2) and occasionally has meetings after school. She is also in the beginning teaching program, which requires extra time after school.

"Part of the reason we worked on getting Jill was because I would not be there on time sometimes," Bayly said. "Jill is very responsible and understands what I expect and want. As a result of the incident, my schedule just didn't allow me to give the same time and commitment."