NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches High School Athletic Director and head soccer coach Farshid Niroumand is retiring from the school after 30 years after he said he was offered a job reassignment.
The coach was made athletic director two years ago, primarily due to his leadership skills on the soccer field, a position he kept as A.D. Now the thirty plus years of shaping the lives of students is ending over philosophical differences.
Superintendent Dr. Fred Hayes spoke to us from Tyler where he was for a family matter.
"The challenges I had with him had to deal with the management of people, specifically coaches that work with him and then the issue of response of consequences," said Hayes.
Administrators, board members, players and parents agree the coach adheres to a firm, strict discipline policy. A policy Niroumand was asked to write when he was hired as A.D. said if any player involved in a drug or alcohol related incident would be kicked off the team for a year.
"That's far above what most school districts do," said Hayes.
The coach abided by, but didn't agree with a new policy that gives students more chances.
NISD Board president Matt Rocco spoke to us from a Tyler hospital where he's recovering from back surgery. "Kids are kids. They're going to make mistakes. We're not in any means are we condoning or encouraging them to make these mistakes," said Rocco.
Rather than take a reassignment and enforce a policy he doesn't believe in Coach Farshid, as called by everyone who knows him, is retiring.
Just six weeks before the soccer season begins the coach said, "I love and care for the kids. I met with them and told them the basic reasons. Obviously, I feel in my heart and mind that I've shortchanged the kids, but I got to go with my conscience and principals." The coach plans to appear before the school board next week to explain his actions.
Soon afterwards, a Support Coach Farshid Facebook page surfaced. It's now followed by hundreds of supporters, including World Cup soccer champion Clint Dempsey.
"The rules applied to everybody. Not one person, not one group," said Jennifer Weems, a former NHS student and poster to the Facebook page. "He never made a disinclination and that's probably why he had so much respect."
Rocco objects to some of the postings saying they're based on rumors and not fact. "They're trashing Dr. Fred Hayes, who is working so very hard to rebuild this district toward something good."
Rocco confirms three senior athletes, including the son of a booster officer, were suspended for showing up drunk at a homecoming dance. He said prior to the event one of the three were guests at his home. Rocco said there was no alcohol at his house. The district's stand is kids should be given a chance to correct their mistakes.
"Throwing them in DAP (NISD correctional facility) where they do nothing is not placing kids in a chance where they can win. The new policy allows students to return to school after a suspension, be monitored for drug use and undergo a rehabilitation program.
Hayes choice for A.D. is Dr. Dennis Parker, a former athletic director and coach with two Texas state high school championships. He authored a character building curriculum for NISD.
"We wanted to keep Dr. Parker's expertise for NISD. We also wanted a place for Coach Fashid where he could contribute greatly, " said Rocco. The coach was asked to become director of health and physical education.
Coach Farshid voluntarily turned the keys over to Parker, but remains at work. His last call of duty in his words is "to take care of the kids." He's reserving hotel rooms, organizing meals and coaching the assistant who will fill a position held by a man respected for so many years.
In what appears to be an unrelated move, the school district has announced that head baseball coach Nicholus Wiggins is on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation into violations of school policy. He will be fired at the same meeting. Nacogdoches police are investigating matters that pertain to students and personnel.
Correction: In the video portion of this story it was reported all three athletes were at Matt Rocco's house. Only one student attended the dinner party, according to Rocco. Rocco says there was no alcohol at the gathering.