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Van Buren County High School delivered an appalling announcement to its girls basketball coach, Tyler Sapp, last week when the coach was abruptly dismissed from the team.
The head coach for the Eaglettes was let go from the program after the school decided that the coach’s gender was a hinderance to the role, abruptly cutting off the coach from a team he’s led since 2016, in favor of a diversity hire.
“They talked about how people had called the school board and that the girls felt uncomfortable with a male coach and the community wanted a woman in that position. It hadn’t been a problem for five years,” Sapp commented.
According to the WC Sports Authority report detailing the shocking dismissal, Sapp was a standout leader for the Eaglettes team the past season (2020-21) — ending the year with a 24-3 record, which earned Sapp District 5A coach of the year honors.
On Monday (Nov. 1), the coach was called into a scheduled meeting with the school’s county director Cheryl Cole, assistant principal Drew Campbell and principal Katina Simmons for what Sapp assumed to be a casual meeting. Cheryl Cole had previously served as the head coach for the girls basketball program.
“When they said they think a woman should be in that position, I told them that it was sexist and it was wrong.”
As of current reporting, Sapp had been fire without a replacement slated to take on the role, with the season nearing on Nov. 16. In five years of having Sapp as their head coach, the girls team accrued a record of 86-65.
“I had no idea. As a coach, you can always have a feeling in the back of your head that you could be replaced, but you never think it a week before the season starts,” Sapp admitted, taken aback by the announcement.
“I talked the team at 4 p.m. I told them that I was no longer their head coach. Our AD didn’t even know. I was the one who told him.”
Sapp also serves as an Economics professor and PE instructor for the school. Based on his employment, there’s no legal action in play for Sapp, but he remains hopeful of a new opportunity to present itself on the court.
“This is the whole reason I went into teaching. I want to coach,” Sapp added.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela