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Timeline hazy for return of Reed baseball coach
by Dan Eckles
May 03, 2012 | 3047 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file photo - Reed baseball coach Ray Charles is hoping for a hasty resolution after being put on administrative leave by the Washoe County School District Wednesday.
Tribune file photo - Reed baseball coach Ray Charles is hoping for a hasty resolution after being put on administrative leave by the Washoe County School District Wednesday.
It’s unclear how long the Reed High baseball team will be without its head coach. If Wednesday’s 10-0 five-inning mercy-rule home loss to Reno was any indication, the return of second-year coach Ray Charles can’t come fast enough.

On Wednesday morning, RHS athletic officials got word from the school district that Charles had been put on administrative leave from his teaching job at Mendive Middle School. Under WCSD suspension rules, Charles cannot be on school district property while his status is being reviewed.

Raiders Athletic Director Ron Coombs said he and RHS Athletic Administrator Kevin Taylor called in the school’s varsity baseball players for a mid-day meeting Wednesday informing them that Charles would not be coaching later that afternoon and that he would be gone indefinitely.

Charles, who is on administrative leave with pay, was not allowed to speak to the team since he must stay away from school grounds.

In Reed’s Wednesday afternoon game, the Raiders played like a team that had just got a bombshell dropped on it. Reed was never in contention as Reno scored two runs in the first, three in the second and five in the fifth to end the game early.

John Phenix is a Reed assistant coach but he was also the Raiders head coach from 1980 to 2003 and is one of the winningest prep baseball coaches in the history of the Silver State. He admitted Wednesday’s news may have been tough for players to respond to on short notice.

“The news could have had something to do with how they came out flat,” Phenix said. “That’s some tough news to digest.”

Coombs said that he could not speak as to why Charles had been put on administrative leave.

“Myself and Dr. Taylor pulled the kids in during class Wednesday and informed them that Ray had been put on administrative leave and would not be coaching,” Coombs said. “Obviously, what we are allowed to say is limited.”

In a telephone interview Thursday afternoon, Charles he has not been given a timeline on when a resolution may come regarding an end to his administrative leave.

Charles has been a staple in the Sparks athletic community. He coached the Reed softball team from 1999 to 2010 before taking over the Raiders baseball program the past two seasons. He has also coached freshman and JV basketball at Reed as well as seventh and eighth grade basketball at Mendive. Additionally he has coached club softball teams as well as local Little League teams while also serving on Little League administrative boards.

The veteran coach admitted he is eager to defend himself, but he also stressed that he must let the process run its course. The local educator and coach said he’d like nothing more than to get back in the classroom and on the playing field.

“I don’t want a black mark under my name at Mendive or at Reed,” Charles said. “I’d just like to keep on doing what I’ve been doing for the last 15 or 16 years. Anytime you’re not there with the kids you’ve worked with for awhile, it’s hard. It’s hard to be a leader and not be able to lead your group.”

The Reed baseball team has clinched a berth in next week’s regional tournament. Coombs also said that Reed officials have not been given a timeline on a possible resolution for Charles or when he could be allowed to return to coaching. He only said that Charles administrative leave is indefinite.

“We’re preparing to move on either way,” Coombs said. “When we talked to the kids, we told them we didn’t know the extent of his suspension. We told them we can use this as an excuse to lay down or we can rally around it and hopefully make some noise in regionals.”

If there is a bright spot for Reed, it is that the Raiders do have a highly qualified staff under Charles, highlighted by the experience of Phenix, whose Raiders teams never missed the postseason in his 20-plus years at the helm.

“The staff I have under me is definitely capable of filling my shoes,” Charles said. “They have a lot of experience. I’ve got total confidence in them.”

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