When Kelvin Krosch learned in March his contact to coach boys basketball at Mackay High School wouldn’t be renewed, he wasn’t surprised.
Krosch said the recently ended basketball season was pockmarked with conflict between him and Mackay School District administrators. Several instances put the coach and administrators at odds, Krosch said, some of which were brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Krosch and parent Cathy Brower said the biggest issue was an overnight trip for the team members. According to Brower, her son Chance and his teammates had a rough start to the season. A few weeks before their first game, several players had to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure. They lost a lot of practice time which affected their gameplay and put a hitch in the team’s goal to repeat as state champions, she said.
That made it impossible for them to mesh as a team, Krosch said. So, to help them reset, Krosch asked board members in January if he could take the players on an overnight trip to Idaho Falls for team building. Board members said no, Krosch said, because they couldn’t sign off on overnight trip during a pandemic.
Krosch worked with players’ parents to send the kids on an overnight trip to Wild Horse Creek Ranch near Mackay, with parents paying for the trip. None of the players were required to participate and parents handled everything from food to transportation, Brower said.
“That trip needed to happen,” Krosch said. “We didn’t talk about basketball. We had fun, we bonded, fixed some issues and had a good time.”
According to Brower, the trip angered board members and district administrators, specifically Mackay Superintendent Susan Buescher. Coupled with Krosch’s children being at basketball practices and eighth-graders practicing with high school players, Buescher was pushed into not giving board members Krosch’s letter of interest to coach again, he and Brower said.
Krosch was required to submit a letter of interest by March 1 to district officials, stating his desire to keep coaching, he said. Part of the reason board members did not extend his agreement, Krosch said, is because they never saw the letter he had given Buescher.
Buescher explained that school board members were given a list of recommended staff for approval at their March meeting. Buescher has influence over those those recommendations, along with Athletic Director Mark Gross and Principal Stephanie Green, she said. To say that she individually targeted Krosch because of issues that arose last season is inaccurate, according to Buescher. Beyond that, the superintendent chose not to comment on Krosch not being hired again as a coach.
“We’re bound, legally, not to disclose anything about our personnel,” Buescher said.
That legal obligation applies to Krosch’s employee evaluation, which he says is another reason his contract wasn’t renewed. In the last four years, Krosch said he received great evaluations due to him improving Mackay’s basketball program. However, this year he received a subpar evaluation despite maintaining the same standard of coaching. Krosch said he feels that action occurred because of the conflict between him and his district supervisors and was used as a basis to not offer him a contract.
It’s unfortunate, according to Brower, because of the positive impact Krosch had on his players. He emphasized being a good person and student over being a good basketball player, Brower said, which is something she appreciated.
Brower said as much when she and fellow parent Ryan Jones spoke in Krosch’s defense during the public comment period at the school board’s April meeting. The two parents asked board members to rescind their decision and rehire Krosch, or at least find an adequate replacement.
Outside the meeting, Buescher said she doesn’t know if board members intend to reconsider their decision. No one has been offered a contract to coach boys basketball.
Already looking for another coaching position, Krosch said he will continue to live in Mackay but needs to move on from this matter. As a seventh-generation resident, Krosch said he will continue to support Mackay athletics.