HARRIS — Paul Anderson has been head coach of the girls varsity basketball team at Bark River-Harris for the past two years. In his first year, the Lady Broncos went 21–3, winning a district championship. Last year, they finished 19–1 in the regular season, tying the best record in school history. Sounds like a good coach, but the school board disagreed.
Anderson’s contract was not renewed at last night’s school board meeting at Bark River–Harris high school. According to a press release from superintendent Jason Lockwood, the board was unable to second a motion to support Athletic Director Tyler Swanson’s recommendation to renew the coach’s contract. Anderson says he was stunned by the decision.
“This is definitely a shock to me. I don’t know how that decision was overturned so quickly from the time that I had heard that my contract would be renewed. It’s a sad day for me and it’s a sad day for my family. It’s a sad day for all the supporters, especially my team, who I know are struggling mightily with this decision as well,” Anderson said.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, several parents of varsity and junior varsity players spoke to the board and expressed their displeasure with Coach Anderson. But a source tells ABC 10 that an overwhelming majority of community members, who asked not to be quoted, say they are disappointed with the board’s decision. Anderson added that he felt small–town politics played into the decision.
“I don’t coach parents. I coach the kids and that’s what I think ultimately led to my demise. From what it sounds like, it was a small minority of some parents who apparently have some influence over the school board, which is a tragedy if you ask me,” Anderson said.
Lockwood says he would like to fill the vacancy by the July board meeting.