Supporters plead for fired high school baseball coach to get job back

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Horizon High School baseball coach Eric Kibler (left) listens as former players and parents of players plead with the Paradise Valley School Board to let him coach for one more year, and then retire on his own terms. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Horizon High School baseball coach Eric Kibler (left) listens as former players and parents of players plead with the Paradise Valley School Board to let him coach for one more year, and then retire on his own terms. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

After a high school baseball coach in Paradise Valley got fired after 38 years on the job, people who have played for him and coached alongside him came to his defense in front of the school board Thursday night.

The PVUSD meeting was packed, and among those wearing #RedForEd were several people wearing green -- the color of Horizon High School.

Baseball fans and supporters of coach Eric Kibler say it’s not right that administrators fired their beloved coach for a supposed negative culture between the coach and players. That's what administrators cited when they notified Kibler two weeks before the season ended.

[RELATED: Legendary Phoenix high school baseball coach to be fired after season]

“I think it’s been quite the opposite, actually. I think we have a really positive culture and I think Coach K has created a positive relationship between him and his players and in between us as players – between ourselves," said junior baseball player Kody Huff.

A couple Horizon alumni who made it all the way to Major League Baseball say Kibler, the states winningest high school baseball coach, is highly respected at the school and around the country. The rumors around the team are that some parents were upset with the coach and complained to administrators.

“We feel this process of discovery has been handled improperly," said Horizon baseball booster club president Aerin Jacob.

“I think that he’s earned the right because of everything he’s put in for the last 37 years, coach that one more year,“ said Brent Bays, a former coach on Kibler's staff at Horizon.

Kibler himself also spoke to the board, hoping he could stay on to make a smooth transition for a new coach. He also mentioned one of his 11th grade pitchers who was diagnosed with leukemia in January and how he'd like to stay on to coach that player for his senior season.

“I truly believe that positive leadership begins with servant hood," Kibler said. "I want to be honor to serve and coach one more year here.“

By rule, the school board could not respond to the comments made because they were not on the meeting's agenda.

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