After leading the Pilot Grove Tigers basketball team the last-nine seasons, Rick Grunden found out Tuesday morning that his contract as both coach and athletic director at the school would not be renewed for the 2013-14 school year.
The Pilot Grove C-4 Board of Education voted 4-3 Monday night not to renew Grunden's contract.
Of course the decision by the board has left many residents and former players up in arms about the dismissal of their coach. An online petition by a former player has at least 130 signatures with hopes of overturning the the decision by the board.
Grunden declined comment on the boards decision only that basketball and the athletic directors position have been taken away for the 2013-14 school year. Grunden said this morning by phone that he currently teaches five hours of physical education and one hour of health at Pilot Grove.
Pilot Grove Superintendent DJ Leverton declined comment this morning to talk about personnel matters. However, he did say that the the Pilot Grove C-4 School District is currently accepting applications for head boys basketball coach and athletic director.
"There is no state law or board policy to let this be overturned," stated Leverton.
In a vote Monday night at the school board meeting, Todd Wessing, Lori Jobe and Earl Haller voted yes to keep Grunden while Christina Vollrath, Cindy Williams, Jenny Lorenz and Bruce Twenter voted to terminate his contact as coach and athletic director.
In nine years as basketball coach at Pilot Grove, Grunden coached the Tigers to 181 wins for an average of 20 wins per season. In addition, the Tigers have captured six conference championships, four district titles, two quarterfinal appearances and one Final Four in 2010.
Colby Kraus, a former player for Grunden, said in an article by KOMU: "As a whole, we were much stronger and made it further than we ever could have known. Coach Grunden made us feel more like a family than a team. He taught us the importance of hard work and persevering through difficult times."
Grunden also coached track for eight seasons at Pilot Grove. Meanwhile, as athletic director, Pilot Grove has been the host of seven district tournaments in nine years.