Legendary Phoenix high school baseball coach to be fired after season

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Eric Kibler, head baseball coach at Horizon High School, is being fired after the season. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Eric Kibler, head baseball coach at Horizon High School, is being fired after the season. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

He's won more high school baseball games than any coach in Arizona history, but all those wins aren't enough to save Eric Kibler's job.

The head baseball coach at Horizon High School in north Phoenix is being fired after the season.

"I feel it's unfair for kids, the community, the school, the players and former [sic] alumni," said Kibler.

The 68-year-old coach expressed his disappointment in the school's decision to force him out.

Kibler had asked to coach one more year, but the Paradise Valley School District did not agree.

Mike Rich is one of many parents with kids playing baseball at Horizon who can't understand why Kibler is being let go after all these years.

School administrators had reportedly told Kibler they didn't like the culture he was creating, and the way he interacted with players.

"When they say there's a bad culture, that there is negativity, we don't know anything about it," said Rich. "We are with the kids every day, so the administration telling him he can't coach one more year, we don't understand it at all."

Kibler has been the head coach at Horizon for 38 years, with dozens of his players moving on to play college ball and several others making it to the major leagues.

The coach is hoping enough parents and former players will come forward and convince district officials to reconsider.

"I feel really good about what we have done in 38 years, I really do," said Kibler. "I feel like we have touched a lot of lives in a really positive manner. My big concern is the kids and the community. I want the program to continue on and be successful and positive. I just want one more year."

One of the reasons Kibler wants to coach one more year is because he currently has a player battling leukemia.

Kibler said he wanted to keep coaching him and see him graduate next year.

The Paradise Valley School District released this statement:

"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, 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."

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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