Questions surround coach’s resignation

The departure of Ron Faubion, former head softball coach, has left many people at a loss as to why he was asked to resign.

In a private meeting Nov. 26 between Sallie Beard, athletic director; Debbie Dutch Kelly, director of human resources; and Faubion, Beard asked him to resign.

“The gist of the conversation [during the meeting] was that things were not working out,” Kelly said. “In general, both Ms. Beard and Coach Faubion stated it wasn’t a good fit for Missouri Southern.”

Faubion said in some ways he agrees that he may not have been a “good fit” for Southern.

“What ‘fit’ means, I don’t know,” he said. “If it pertains to social activities, those types of things, no, I’m not a good fit. I don’t get too involved socially. If fit means a different type of coaching style, yes, I have a different type of coaching style than most the coaches here. They knew what type of style I had coming in here.”

As a coach and instructor, he said he felt like he was doing what was asked of him.

“In terms of what he expects and what Missouri Southern expects, they’re two different sets of expectations,” Beard said.

Faubion said, specifically, Beard asked him to resign because he did not attend a 1992 Hall of Fame banquet during Homecoming week and he did not keep at least 10 office hours each week.

He said he did not know the banquet was a major issue, and he thinks he kept ample office hours.

“I’m getting my 10 hours in easily because I come in at six in the morning and don’t leave until six at night, usually,” he said.

“Those are two reasons Coach Faubion chose to share with the public,” Beard said. “I’m not at liberty to discuss any personnel issues. What I can say is there was no inappropriate activity. Those are rumors, and there is no truth to the things being said.”

Faubion said the rumors that he had relationships with some of his players hurt worse than actually being asked to leave Southern.

“He had very, very good morals,” said Lindsey Long, junior third baseman. “He was like a grandpa to us.”

In a previous meeting Sept. 3, Beard warned Faubion that he needed to keep better, more productive office hours. Other than this meeting, Faubion said he had no indication there were problems between himself and the athletic administration.

“I was shocked,” he said. “I had no idea anything was in the planning.”

In order for the College to buy out his remaining contract, Faubion had to give his resignation by Dec. 2. His full salary for 2002-2003 is $49,378. The College had to pay Faubion $28,803.36 to fulfill his contract for the months of January through July.

Dr. Terri Agee, vice president for business affairs, made the decision to pay Faubion the rest of his contract when 2002 ended so he would not have to pay taxes on his entire salary for that year. Faubion said he appreciated Agee for doing so.

Following Faubion’s resignation, Beard met with the softball players to offer them the option of release from the team if they wanted. Five players — Monica Thomason, first baseman; Debbie Crockett, outfielder; Kallie Jo Jones, catcher; Kristie Marshall, pitcher; and Tiffany Rothell, second baseman — made the decision to leave Southern.

“I thought the way this whole situation was handled was wrong and unfair,” Thomason said.

She said Beard and Faubion had conflicting personalities.

“She wanted people in there who would do what she said,” Thomason said. “Coach Faubion isn’t like that. He’s not going to change his ways because he knows they work. Sallie didn’t like that, so she got rid of him.”

She said each player that left felt the reasons Faubion was dismissed were unfair.

“They didn’t want to be in a program that was corrupt,” she said.

Long opted to stay on the team, although she agrees the way the situation was handled was wrong.

“It’s really scary to think you could be doing great as an employee at Southern and still get fired,” she said.

Long, however, did not notice any personality conflicts.

“He was the type of guy that didn’t have a problem with anyone,” she said.

Jennifer Jimerson, assistant coach, was named interim head coach.

“I’m excited,” she said. “It’s my personal career goal to be a head coach at a collegiate school, and I always would have loved to come back to my alma mater and be the head coach, so this is sort of a dream come true for me. It’s just unfortunate the circumstances that it happened. But I’m going to roll with the punches, do the best I can, and take care of the kids.”

Jimerson was hired by Faubion as assistant coach in 2000. She had previously played softball for Southern under former head coach Pat Lipira from 1995-1998. She served as a student assistant in 1999.

Although the team lost five players, Jimerson added four to the roster. Thirteen players will be eligible to play this spring. Jimerson said anyone on campus who has played softball and has an interest in joining the team may contact her.

Faubion has already received another job coaching at a college in Kingsville, Texas.

“I’m going to miss Missouri Southern,” he said. “I appreciate the opportunity I’ve been given the past two-and-a-half years. We had a great time. I thought I was doing what was expected of me. I think I coached the kids successfully individually, athletically and academically.”