Sports

Baseball: Fairweather steps down as South Kitsap's coach

Jim Fairweather will not return next spring for a 10th season as South Kitsap's baseball coach.

Athletic director Ed Santos confirmed that Fairweather resigned in late June, but declined to speculate on the coach's reasons for not returning.

Fairweather, who did not return phone messages seeking comment, was involved in a highly publicized incident at the high school where a video camera was discovered April 26 in the boys' locker room.

Superintendent Dave LaRose said at the time that the tape, which ran for less than an hour, was pointed directly at lockers and did not show any students. No charges were filed in the case.

Kitsap County deputy prosecutor Kellie Pendras, who handled the case, said there was no evidence that suggested the employee was seeking to do anything other than catch a thief.

It remains unclear whether Fairweather, who will continue to teach social studies at the high school, had the option to return next year. Both Santos and LaRose, who will leave his position July 31 to become the superintendent of the Culver City Unified School District in California, declined to specify the punishment related to the incident.

"Corrective action was taken," LaRose told the Independent last month. "We want to ensure there is accountability for poor judgment. I hope that I am very clear that our response was swift, responsive and thorough from a district perspective."

Santos said the position already has been posted in the building and now has been opened to candidates throughout the district. That follows South's traditional policy of hiring coaches from within before posting the job for external candidates.

But Santos said he moved quickly to post the position internally to give time for outside candidates to review the job, as well. He said that is because some might be inclined to apply for the baseball position if they also can land a teaching position within the district. That occurred in 2008 when Mark Lutzenhiser, a science teacher in the North Kitsap School District, was hired to coach the girls basketball team and teach physics at South.

Fairweather was the only candidate who applied for the position to replace legendary coach Elton Goodwin, who won 491 games and three state championships with the Wolves, after the 2003 season. A 1977 South graduate, Fairweather played baseball for the Wolves and returned to the program as an assistant in 1990.

During his nine years as coach, Fairweather guided South to four state-playoff appearances and posted a 123-67 record. South has not finished with a losing record since going 8-12 in 1988.

"I think it's a great job," Santos said. "We have a long history of baseball success in South Kitsap. We're looking for someone who can keep us going on the same path."

Santos said he does not have a specific timeline to fill the position yet.

"We like to get kids involved with our hires and our committees," he said. "That might be difficult before school starts."

Santos said he also has not crafted a search committee. Goodwin still lives in the area, along with Bob MacDonald, who coached the University of Washington's baseball program from 1977-92, and has worked with high-school teams in the area. Santos said he is open to involving some of the community's baseball experts in the search process when it gets to that point.

"We have a huge baseball knowledge base in this community," he said.

• Santos also is busy looking to replace tennis coach Todd Olson, who told the Independent last month that he was stepping down.

"That's a tough one to fill," Santos said. "Todd has done an outstanding job. He's verging on being irreplaceable."

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