Parents vs. coaches: Baseball coaches ousted amid controversies at 2 schools
David Meng and Dan Thomas were each notified by Palo Verde and Shadow Ridge, respectively, about their dismissals as the school’s baseball coach just weeks before the start of the season.
Updated March 1, 2023 - 9:33 am
As the high school baseball season begins in Southern Nevada this week, two teams are dealing with coaching controversies.
Shadow Ridge and Palo Verde will begin the season with new coaches after their previous coaches were dismissed.
David Meng and Dan Thomas were each notified by Palo Verde and Shadow Ridge, respectively, about their dismissals as the school’s baseball coach just weeks before the start of the season. Shadow Ridge won the Class 4A state championship last season.
Meng was announced as Palo Verde’s baseball coach on Jan. 4 after spending 10 seasons as a volunteer coach. On Jan. 24 Meng was notified during practice that his volunteer badge had been terminated by CCSD after an anonymous email was sent to the school’s principal about a social media account that posted inappropriate material.
Meng said the social media accounts that had his name and pictures on them were not his and had notified the school for two years about the accounts impersonating him.
He said he submitted documentation to the school and district about the accounts and who ran them, which Meng claims is a parent of a player who was cut from the club baseball team Meng coaches.
“In the end, this disgruntled dad gets to win because he went anonymously to the right person way up the ladder,” Meng said in an interview Tuesday.
Meng said he sent police reports and sequences of events to the school and district about the accounts. He said the documents were being reviewed by the termination review board. But after that review, he said he was sent an email that “this is in CCSD’s best interest to move forward.”
Meng expressed frustration at a lack of communication from the school and district regarding the specific evidence of his dismissal. He said that as a volunteer coach who is not a teacher, there is limited protection in the process when allegations like these are presented.
Palo Verde officials did not respond to requests for comment. Tyler Hallead is listed as the interim coach at Palo Verde.
Shadow Ridge’s dismissal of Thomas came to light after Thomas and the parents of players on the school’s baseball team spoke at a CCSD board meeting Thursday.
Parents say the team was notified on Feb. 6 of Thomas’ firing. Parents claim Thomas’ dismissal stems from accusations from the parents of a player who submitted bullying accusations about Thomas.
Jennie Moss, a parent who gave public comment during the CCSD board meeting, claims those parents “retaliated” against Thomas after the player who was allegedly being bullied was disciplined. Moss also said that the parents and Shadow Ridge principal Traci Kannon are friends and believe that played a role in Thomas’ firing.
“This friendship led to the firing of coach Thomas,” Moss said. “This has caused an entire baseball program of kids to lose faith in their school and their teachers and the leaders.”
Michelle Graf, another parent who gave public comment, said no one from the school has responded to parents regarding the incident. She claims attempts to reach Kannon were unsuccessful because her email was blocked.
Shadow Ridge officials did not respond to the Review-Journal’s request for comment. Kannon’s email address was not listed on her staff page on the school’s website.
Travis Junemanis is listed as the Shadow Ridge baseball coach.
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