Conner fired as Fruita VB coach
The Fruita Monument High School coaching carousel continues to spin, with volleyball coach Amelia Conner being fired.
Conner called The Daily Sentinel on Monday afternoon about her dismissal. Last week, football coach Bill Moore was fired.
“No reason was given why,” Conner said. “I didn’t want to resign. I wanted to come back.”
Conner said she was let go in November, but Fruita Monument did not announce the move. Like Moore, Conner was a longtime coach who was terminated as head coach after a losing season in the fall.
The Wildcats went 8-12, 3-7 in the Southwestern League. Fruita Monument still qualified for the postseason, losing in the district tournament to Doherty and Durango. The Wildcats had seven players earn academic all-state honors and Camille Kovach and Angie Archuleta both made the all-SWL second team.
“This came from the administration,” Conner said. “It’s a sad turn of events.”
In an interview last week, Moore said there might be a sense of wanting to “clean house” at Fruita Monument. Moore (12 years) and Conner (seven years) had the second- and third-longest tenures at the school behind wrestling coach Jim Stockert (25 years). Stockert announced his retirement from coaching this past fall, but was asked to return this season.
With Moore and Conner gone, the longest-tenured coach behind Stockert is Dave Fox, who has coached boys golf for eight years and has been at the school for many years, coaching baseball, girls basketball and now boys basketball. Boys swim coach Dale Leonhart has been with the district 19 years — several years ago, the schools comibined their individual boys programs into one district-wide team.
“We have basically a one-year contract,” Conner said. “If they don’t want you back, then you don’t come back.”
Conner said she was told that there had been anonymous letters written by players complaining about the amount of conditioning during practices.
“It’s the same way I’ve done it for nine years,” Conner said.
Conner said she was never given a formal evaluation of her practice procedure.
Denny Squibb, Fruita Monument’s interim athletic director, said School District 51’s coaching contracts allow for firing a coach without cause.
“The athletic contracts are year to year,” Squibb said. “Either party can terminate it without reason or cause.”
Squibb also confirmed Conner was let go during the fall, and that the job has been posted since that time.
“These are all personnel decisions and they were never fired due to wins and losses,” Squibb said.