Rumors about Darren McKay’s position as head football coach at Gig Harbor High have been swirling around the South Sound since December.
On Thursday, at the Peninsula School District’s monthly school board meeting, more than 100 McKay supporters crammed the district office building to show their support. Thirty-five people spoke — most used their allotted three minutes — in favor of McKay.
Here’s my story on the board meeting, which provides background on the happenings of the past four months.
That story is the nuts-and-bolts version of what happened Thursday evening. Because of space constraints, I want to mention some things didn’t make it into that story.
At the meeting, support for McKay came from inside and outside Gig Harbor’s football program.
Current and former players, assistant coaches and teaching colleagues, parents of football players and booster club members addressed the board. McKay receive support from his high school coach — former Wilson coach Bob Hunt — and a rival — former Curtis coach Bob Lucey. McKay’s wife, Andi, distributed to board members a packet filled with letters of recommendation from 11 people, including Jim Coolican, former Peninsula School District superintendent; Mike West, former Gig Harbor High principal; and Dale Johnson, Gig Harbor High athletic director.
After McKay refused to comply with the improvement plan that called for him to fire his father Mike and brother Sean from his coaching staff and filed a grievance, the district offered McKay three options. According to his Andi McKay, Darren’s Washington Education Association rep told him none of the options included him remaining as the Tides’ head coach. At least one of the options would result in him being fired from his teaching position, too.
McKay did not attend the meeting and declined to go into specifics about his grievance when reached by telephone Thursday evening.
After the meeting ended, I asked Andi why her husband was fighting so hard to remain a coach and teacher at school whose leadership didn’t appear to want him.
“It’s a very interesting question to ask,” she replied. “At some point, you have to think enough is enough. To have your character and integrity attacked shamelessly for no cause is pretty exhausting.”