PARADISE VALLEY, AZ - Despite 38 years and 800 wins, Horizon High School’s baseball coach has been removed from his position a year prior to his contract ending.
Dozens of supporters showed up to defend longtime coach Eric Kibler at the Paradise Valley Unified School District meeting Thursday night. In over an hour of public comment, supporters questioned Kibler’s firing and asked the board to reconsider.
“You’d think coach Kibler would have more support from the board here,” said another Valley baseball coach. “It’s pathetic.”
Kibler even spoke on his own behalf.
“I’ve given 40 years of my life to Paradise Valley schools, and I’d like to make it 41,” Kibler told the board.
Parents at the meeting told ABC15 they received notes at their homes earlier this month blaming a “negative culture” with Kibler’s program, which prompted his early dismissal.
Kibler addressed that accusation from the podium: “If there was a negative culture I would have fired me, myself.”
Former Major League Baseball player Tim Salmon also spoke in support.
“We’re here tonight asking you so coach Kibler can write his own ending to mentoring young men. I think he deserves it,” Salmon said.
Paradise Valley Unified School District released the following statement to ABC15: "PVSchools deeply appreciates the many years of service that Coach Kibler has provided to Horizon High School’s Baseball program and for his dedication to students he coached and mentored along the way. At PVSchools, all coaching positions are considered employment at will. The Horizon High School administration decided to go in a different direction with the head baseball coaching position and will be posting the coaching vacancy soon. The District cannot elaborate on personnel matters."