Phs Athletics In Tailspin With Dismissals

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Good luck to those trying to figure out the future of the Payson High School sports and athletic programs.

The unexpected dismissal of principal Roy Sandoval, assistant principal Tim Fruth, athletic director Jason Lobik and longtime baseball coach Jerry Daniels seems to have put athletics in a tailspin, prompting most everyone to wonder what is occurring on the PHS campus.

Just when it seemed like things couldn’t turn much more befuddling, we learned this week that PUSD Superintendent Casey O’Brien is searching for work elsewhere and is among the final three candidates for the vacant Phoenix Roosevelt School District position.

As PUSD’s superintendent, he certainly would have had an important say in the selection of new football and baseball coaches as well as how the vacant AD position would be dealt with.

But if he goes to Roosevelt, will he have a voice, and how much of one?

And if the superintendent is waving adios as he motors south on Beeline, should he make decisions for a school year in which he will not be part of the school, district or community?

Finally, will all the crucial determinations involving the athletic programs be made in time for PHS to field competitive, respectable teams next school year?

Following the heel dragging that occurred last spring in the hiring of a football coach, it’s painfully obvious timelines must be met to ensure our kids have equal opportunities against the likes of Show Low, Blue Ridge, Round Valley and Snowflake.

The questions surrounding athletics are endless, but what is a given is that PHS will soon have two administrators without much prep athletic experience, two high-profile vacant coaching positions, the athletic director’s chair sitting empty, a superintendent who might bolt for greener pastures and new athletic participation fees that could reach $250 for students playing two sports, $400 a family.

The answers to the questions surrounding the future of PHS sports and athletics are tough to come by as at least one board member and administrators remain tightlipped.

Old-timers remember Payson High athletic programs suffered through some tough times in the past several decades, but the problems facing the school today render those maladies pale in comparison.

One volunteer who has long worked behind the scenes, sometimes as a member of the Friends And Neighbors (FAN) Club, e-mailed me writing “my heart is broken to see what is happening.”

That’s understandable.

Little League on tap

The 2010 Little League baseball and softball tees off tomorrow, April 17, with a bevy of games and activities around Rumsey Park.

Games begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 7 p.m., with formal opening ceremonies set for 1:15 p.m. on the Rumsey III field.

All softball games on the day will be played on Rumsey II and baseball on Rumsey III.

For the festivities, Little League official Felicia Moore has issued an invitation to everyone with an interest in the sport or youth.

“If you don’t have kids in Little League, please just come enjoy the fun and cheer on the kids,” she said. “It will be a fun day for all.”

Among the activities will be hot air balloon rides, bounce houses, live radio broadcasts by KMOG, raffles and prizes including a 42-inch flat screen television.

“Tickets (for the TV prize) are $5 or three for $12,” Moore said.

Also, the Little League snack bar will be open selling the usual array of ballpark foods including hot dogs, soft drinks, peanuts and popcorn.

The games to be played will include all age/skill divisions including coach pitch, minors and majors.

Benefit golf

A Little League benefit golf tournament will be played May 1 at Payson Golf Course.

The four-man scramble tees off at 8:30 a.m. with a shotgun start. The fee is $65 per player and all profits benefit Payson Little League.

Tournament chairman Duane Kaufman anticipates a banner day saying the fray has attracted two sponsors for each hole and there will be a variety of fun contests and competitions including closest to the pin, longest drives and a big screen television prize for any entrant who scores an ace on No. 14.

Kaufman also is planning a “Las Vegas Hole” in which players can wager on setting their tee shot into an eight-foot circle around a par 3 hole.

Following the 18-hole tournament, a lunch will be served during the awards ceremony.

For more information, call Kaufman at (928) 978-1946 or Bob Ferkol at (928) 978-3772.

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