Financial issues were among the factors that led to the removal of Chris Wilkins as Greenbrier’s head baseball coach Monday.
Greenbrier High School principal Chris Segraves wouldn’t provide many details, although he acknowledged that mismanagement of money from Wilkins’ baseball account are part of it.
Wilkins was warned in a memo dated June 26, 2012, that he could be fired if that mismanagement continued. The letter was included in his’ personnel file, released Tuesday by Columbia County officials after an open records request.
In the memo, Segraves admonished Wilkins regarding the baseball account’s negative 2011 balance of $2,687.76. Wilkins was chastised for “gross mismanagement of school funds” and lack of sound bookkeeping procedures being followed in 2012.
“I am greatly disturbed and disappointed that recommendations made to you – recommendations that would eliminate situations like this from occurring again – were not put into place and monitored as directed almost a year ago,” Segraves wrote.
After informing Wilkins that failure to fix the problem could impact his salary, Segraves added: “In addition, there will exist the possibility of you being relieved of your head coaching responsibilities.”
Segraves rejected suggestions that parental pressure or rumors about players being hazed during initiation rituals, were a factor in his decision. He also said the removal was not done in haste, and that there never were plans to dismiss Wilkins during the season.
“I am not going to sacrifice what the kids were working for,” Segraves said. “They were deep in the hunt in the playoff, and to have acted any sooner than I did would have jeopardized their success. I was not going to jeopardize any of the success for our players.”
Wilkins took over as head coach in 2009 and was 120-40 in five seasons, including back-to-back appearances in the state championship series in 2012 and 2013.
Attempts to reach Wilkins, who will still have a position as a health and physical education and social studies teacher at the high school, were unsuccessful.
In the interim, assistant coaches David Barnes and Mark Turner will take charge of the school’s summer league and baseball camp.
Segraves said hiring a coach is a top priority.