Cents baseball coach clarifies his decision to resign

After 12 years of coaching Saugus baseball, John Maggiora announced his resignation earlier this week. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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The decision John Maggiora said he was forced into before stepping down as Saugus High’s baseball coach involved changes to his coaching staff, Maggiora told The Signal this week.

Maggiora posted a message on Facebook Saturday that said he was resigning because he was forced into a decision that compromised his three guiding principles of family, friends and faith.

He said Monday he had been told by the “highest levels” that “they” would be making changes to the Centurions’ coaching staff.

A catalyst of the prescribed changes, Maggiora said, was complaints about verbal mistreatment of players by coaches.

Maggiora said he was asked to stay on. Instead, the 12-year coach and his staff at the varsity, junior varsity and freshman levels stepped down.

“I’m a very loyal person,” said Maggiora, who plans to continue teaching history at Saugus. “It stinks for the kids, but like I said, it really comes down to the dynamic of coaching today at this level. That’s the one thing I want to get across. It’s become very difficult on us to be coaches: You say too much. You say too little. It seems like you just can’t be right.”

Tuesday, Greg Lee, the William S. Hart Union High School District director of human resources and equity services, said that no coach was released in the matter and that no coach was denied due process.

Without speaking specifically to Maggiora’s situation, Lee said coaching complaints within the district should be handled at the level closest to the source of the complaint.

“So with sports,” Lee said via text message, “it’s coach, (athletic director), (assistant principal) then principal.

“Parents don’t always adhere to the protocol, though. If they come straight to the district, we redirect to the school where possible.”

Saugus Principal Bill Bolde declined to comment Tuesday on Maggiora’s perspective of recent events, but he thanked Maggiora and Maggiora’s brother, Doug, a Saugus varsity assistant, for their time with the program.

“I’m grateful for the 12 years of passionate coaching they’ve given the school,” Bolde told The Signal. “They love the game. They bleed blue, and it’s been good having them as part of our program.”

Saugus Athletic Director Jeff Hallman said the school was hoping to post the position in the next 24 hours.

The new varsity coach, then, would likely be able to hire his own staff.

As for Maggiora, who began his coaching career as an assistant at Valencia High, stepping down means the end of an impressive coaching run at his alma mater.

In 12 seasons, Maggiora went 183-149-3. He led the Centurions to the 2015 CIF-Southern Section Division 1 semifinals, where they lost 3-2 in 10 innings to Hart in one of the Santa Clarita Valley’s greatest-ever baseball games.

Asked if there was truth to the complaints of verbal mistreatment by his staff – which on varsity included Doug Maggiora, former No. 3 overall MLB pick and Saugus alum Roger Salkeld, Rainel Caranto, Mike Adachi and Randy Kutcher – Maggiora said it was “nothing more than you would expect to hear on a public school sideline, dugout, or baseline.”

“Bottom line – we can’t continue to coach with our hands tied behind our back while walking on eggshells,” Maggiora said.

Again not speaking about Maggiora’s situation, Lee said that district coaches are expected to behave in a professional manner. Players and parents should be treated with respect, he said.

“But no one is perfect,” Lee said. “Sports brings out emotions of all kinds. Most of the leadership in our district have experience in athletics, either on our own or through our children. When complaints are received, we take a comprehensive look at the coach’s larger body of work, not just one incident or even just one complaint.”


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