Greg Hurst is in his second season with the program.
“We didn’t fire him; we didn’t terminate him. He was suspended with pay for the rest of the season,” Norwalk City Schools Superintendent George Fisk said.
“There was something between him and the head coach (Julie Schmidt) that we felt was probably a distraction to the team. We didn’t want that to be a distraction,” added the superintendent, who declined to elaborate.
Josh Schlotterer, Norwalk High School director of student activities, also declined to be more specific.
Residents and parents raised various issues about the softball program during the public participation portion of Tuesday’s school board meeting. Hurst said Thursday he heard people say he was behind having people attend the meeting, but that wasn’t the case.
“I had nothing to do with it,” he added.
Hurst said there was “a lot of drama” within the team recently, which didn’t need to be there.
“Julie and I have a little different coaching styles. She handles punishments very different than I do,” he said. “I’m just sticking up for the girls.”
Last season, Hurst was the head coach for the junior varsity team, and this season he took the job as Schmidt’s assistant varsity coach. He was asked about their working relationship.
“It was good at first, but then it started to go south,” said Hurst, who added that he believes Schmidt plays “head games with the girls.”
Last season Schmidt “decided to step away from it,” Hurst said, but “our AD begged her to come back.”
Hurst isn’t Schmidt’s only assistant coach.
“We have volunteers who are helping (her),” Schlotterer said.
Hurst attended a meeting Wednesday with Schlotterer and Schmidt. Hurst said he was told his presence was “bad for team chemistry” and then was notified he was being suspended.
A parent called the Reflector this week and shared allegations of theft by some of the players. Fisk, when asked Wednesday about possible discipline of several students on the team this year, declined to comment.
“Those are protected educational records,” he said.
Hurst, when asked Thursday about the theft allegations, said “we had some girls who were in trouble and that’s all I’d like to comment.” He didn’t know if those players are still with the team.
A Norwalk police officer was in a marked sport utility vehicle during Wednesday’s game against Shelby. Fisk said there was no connection to the Hurst situation.
“The Norwalk Police Department has increased its visibility in the district since the tragedy in Florida,” he added.
As a result, given local authorities’ “new visibility” in light of national school shootings, Fisk said officers are in the district school buildings “all the time” and it’s common to see them providing security at sporting events.
“I believe they are doing that for both us and Norwalk Catholic (School),” the superintendent added.
Schlotterer, in a separate interview, said it’s common to see police at sporting events — even softball and baseball games. The Truckers baseball team also hosted Shelby on Wednesday.
“We like to be safe in all areas of the school,” Schlotterer said.
Hurst was asked about police presence at softball and baseball games. He said it’s unusual to see officers there unless they have a child who is playing.
“That’s the first time I’d seen that,” Hurst added.