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New Questions Surround Reassignment of McAllen Coach

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Posted: Dec 4, 2012 10:19 PM

Updated: Dec 4, 2012 10:33 PM

McALLEN - Several school coaches have contradicted the official version for the reassignment of long-time McAllen High School Athletic Coordinator Tony Harris.

District officials said they made the decision after a review of the entire athletic department. That led several coaches to ask for a meeting with district officials to learn more about the review. They also wanted to know the district's plans for their departments.

Some of those meetings happened Monday, coaches said.

Harris was assigned last month to the position of assistant maintenance director.

"I resent the fact that it is an indirect slap. ... The second thing is, you have self-serving leaders in the district - and as calculated as all this was - had to be secretly rooting against our kids. Shame on them - and that bothers me because this is about kids," Harris said after being reassigned.

Harris blamed politics for the move.

The district sent CHANNEL 5 NEWS a statement saying that the decision was made following a review of the entire athletic department.

On Tuesday, four coaches who did not want to be identified said they met individually with the district's athletic director and the school principal on Monday.

Each coach said the same thing. Despite the official statement given to CHANNEL 5 NEWS, the district never conducted a review of the athletic department as a whole, nor of any of the programs for specific sports.

A recent e-mail from McAllen School Board Member Debbie Crane-Aliseda to a member of the community said politics or outside influences played no role in Harris' reassignment.

She said the program at McAllen High School was at a stand-still and needed to go in a different direction.

That left the coaches with plenty of questions.

Tuesday night, McAllen ISD Spokesman Mark May said he erred when he used the word "review."

"I used the term in a general sense and not in any formal capacity," he said. "I apologize for any misunderstanding this may have caused."

Harris said he filed a grievance with the district.

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