Valley Twisters start search for new coach
The Valley Twisters gymnastics club has started the search for a new head coach and executive director deciding to part ways with Jon Liardi Monday night.
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"The long-term best interest, with respect to safety of students and growth of program, wasn't to have him on board as a coach and director," President Bobby Koepplin said Tuesday.
Liardi said he was asked Wednesday morning to turn in a letter of resignation, though he was unsure whether he would.
The change will have no effect on classes or other activities held by the club, Koepplin said, with the program's remaining coaches teaching athletes for the interim.
As of Tuesday, the club's board had started the search for a new coach.
In addition to advertising the position on the USA Gymnastics website, the board will review resumes the club received when hiring Liardi and also is taking referrals from parents, Koepplin said.
The board hopes to announce a replacement as soon as possible.
Liardi expressed disappointment over the decision.
"I'm going to miss the opportunity to turn this into a championship program," Liardi said Wednesday morning. "We were really on our way."
The split came after an alleged outburst by Liardi Monday night in the parking lot after the club's board held three meetings in succession.
Koepplin declined to comment on the specifics regarding the alleged outburst but said "it was not conducive to a public setting."
Liardi said he was out of line while talking to some parents, but maintains he "didn't do anything inappropriate" during his tenure as coach.
He said no children were around for the outburst.
Koepplin said the alleged outburst wasn't the determining factor regarding Liardi's position, but rather was "the final straw," he said.
The club announced the coaching change to parents in an email Tuesday, which noted that Liardi turned in his keys to the Youth Sports Complex Tuesday morning.
Liardi said no clear reason was given for the split and he was never told that he was "terminated" or "fired."
"All I was told was to 'turn in my keys,'" he said.
Liardi said any move to get rid of him was likely due to parents.
"This is not driven by the kids I coach," he said. "I got along with the kids and the kids got better."
Liardi said in the 10 and a half months he's coached the program, he's never had an injury and only one child left the program.
He said that the parents who supported him were "dumbfounded."
"I've done this a long time, I've done this for 30 years," Liardi said. "I stand on my record."
Koepplin said that although some of the kids will likely miss Liardi, it was a decision made with the best interests of the program.
"This is not the end of the world, the sky is not falling." he said. "Club directors come and go. For the best interests of the club long term, it was time for a change."