Carolina Day has cancelled its basketball season.?(Photo: Angela Wilhelm, /firstname.lastname@example.org)
Carolina Day has canceled its girls basketball season less than a month after firing its head coach before the Wildcats began their state title defense for the ninth straight year.
Jane Childress, Carolina Day’s director of marketing and communications, said Thursday morning that “CDS will hold off on competitive play this season in order to rebuild the girls varsity basketball program with a fresh start.”
Several standout players have transferred from the school, including Wofford commit Annabelle Schultz?and Nautica Smiley, who are both now at Erwin.?
Amber Redmond has?transferred to Asheville High and Lani Woods, a former Pisgah standout, transferred to North Buncombe.
Athletic Director Steve Henry could not be reached for comment Thursday. Henry was slated to take over the coaching position after Joe Carrington was fired.?
On Thursday, parents at Carolina Day spoke out against the decision to cancel the season.
Raymond Greiner, whose daughter Eliza Greiner was set to begin her sophomore year on the basketball team,?said he was? “frustrated” and “disheartened” by the decision to cancel the season.”
“(Eliza) She?has struggled to accept the sudden demise of the girls basketball program after winning eight straight state championships,” Greiner wrote in an email.?”She was looking forward to playing this season and chasing a ninth championship along with a very talented group of teammates.?This (is) an emotional and?stressful time for Eliza as it would be?for any committed athlete who has lost the opportunity to play the sport they love.?Carolina Day School has been an academic asset to Eliza but the loss of the girls basketball program remains?impossible to understand.”
Greiner said his daughter will continue to play AAU basketball for the Lady Royals, where Carrington is still the head coach. Greiner?said he’s worried, though, that his daughters college recruitment will be affected by missing a high school basketball season.
“The question will arise why she did not play in her sophomore year and may not be easily explained or understood?by some recruiters,” Greiner said.?
Teeara Adams, a former Lady Royals standout and 2009 Roberson graduate, said Carrington was the main reason she was recruited to play college at USC Upstate.?
“I think losing this season is extremely hurtful to those players, especially the ones trying to get recruited,” Adams said. “It’s just incredible sad. Joe was a coach who taught accountability and resilience, things I learned from him that still help me ever day. It’s hard to understand why all of this is happening.”
Annabelle Schultz’ uncle, Keith King, said Carrington was the best coach his niece had ever had, and that she was “extremely disappointed” to have to leave Carolina Day.
“She wanted to play for Joe,” King said. “She got a lot of college attention because of him, luckily she’s already verbally committed to a school. I’d be worried if she wasn’t.”
Last Friday, Carrington filed a lawsuit against Carolina Day, claiming the school was in breach of contract and that his named has been defamed by the school.
The suit states Carrington is seeking damages in excess of $25,000 and has requested a trial in front of a full jury.?
Carrington was the coach at Carolina Day for nine years,?winning eight straight state titles before being fired on Oct. 19.
More: Carolina Day: Carrington removed to ‘align basketball program with school’s core beliefs’
Carolina Day released a statement to parents two days later stating, Carrington?was fired to “more closely align the girls’ basketball program with our school’s core beliefs.”
Carrington told the Citizen Times on Oct. 22 that?he “had no intention of leaving”?and felt “forced out.” Assistant coach Jennie West was terminated, as well.
More: Joe Carrington on his departure: ‘I wanted to be at Carolina Day’
According to the complaint, Carrington’s contract expired on June 30, but it had become customary in recent years for him to continue his duties “by working under a contract implied in fact to undertake the work required to prepare for the upcoming basketball season.” That included setting up practice schedules, ordering uniforms and speaking with college recruiters who were inquiring about CDS players. Carrington had been holding preseason workouts in accordance with NC high school athletic guidelines.
The suit states that the timing of Carolina Day’s termination of Carrington, and the “unexplained circumstances surrounding” the termination has made it “impossible” for Carrington to find “comparable employment.”
According to the suit, Carrington was told by Head of School Kirk Duncan that a faculty letter “requesting that he be fired,?signed by?a number of faculty members”?was a reason behind his removal.?Carrington asked to see the letter, but the request was refused, the suit asserts.
Carrington?s complaint states the former coach ?does not know why he was terminated,? adding he had not violated NCISAA or Carolina Day rules during his tenure. The day after he was fired, a member of the school?s board of trustees said Carrington ?ran a clean program.?
The suit claims defamatory statements were made about Carrington by people associated with Carolina Day after he was fired.?
For example, it states that about 10 days after Carrington’s removal, a CDS physical education teacher “in the presence of Coach West’s son”?called Carrington a “scumbag” to another teacher while both were in the lunchroom, and that Carrington’s daughter was in the room at the time.
Carrington has two daughters enrolled at Carolina Day. He has said he no plans to remove his children from the school.
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