Orangefield Athletic Director Brian Huckabay survived a proposal to not renew his contract Tuesday night. The Orangefield School Board voted 3 to 1 to keep Huckabay's contract. Thad Angelle voted against the renewal. Susan Gunstream and Jack Smith abstained from voting on the contract, meaning the three "yay's" from Nancy Ashworth, Wanda Woods and Donavan Weldon were enough for him to keep his job.
Nearly 100 people, including many high school students, waited more than two hours in the high school cafeteria as the school board met in closed-door executive session for the vote. It was the second long closed-door session the board had Tuesday. The first was on a grievance brought by parents against the girls athletic program under Coach Chris Jost. The school board upheld supervisor that supported Jost. All together, the board spent about four hours in closed door session Tuesday.
After the vote to keep Huckabay's contract, cheers erupted from the crowd. Bobcat baseball players who had waited for hours in their practice uniforms lined up to hug Huckabay and congratulate him. Huckabay said he knew about the move to remove him from the job he has held for three years. He was pleased about the support.
During a regular monthly board meeting Monday night, school patrons lined up to support the coach. March has been a hectic month for the district. Superintendent Phillip Welch announced his sudden resignation and retirement at the first of the month. Then the board appointed a veteran Texas school administrator Kay Karr as the interim superintendent.
The complaint against the girls athletic director reached the third level of the grievance process. Karr explained that a grievance against an employee is first taken to the person's supervisor, which could be a principal. If that decision is not accepted, then the grievance moves to the superintendent and the third level is to the school board. The board upheld the level one decision. The issue involved a complaint about the girls volleyball team not being allowed to wear special headbands during games.
Angelle apologized for the issue taking so long to resolve. He said he respects what the parents did to stand up for the kids.
He added that he is “looking forward for the interim superintendent to monitor” the overall programs, including academics and athletics.