Despite pleas from PCC football players to retain their coach during the Board of Trustees meeting yesterday, the board unanimously decided to name Fullerton quarterbacks coach Tom Maher the new head coach of the Lancers football team.
Members of the team gathered in the Creveling Lounge to show support for their now former coach Thom Kaumeyer.
Maher would be the Lancers’ third coach in two years, marking yet another questionable offseason.
Speaking on behalf of the team was freshman linebacker Daniel Wire.
“I believe this is a very unfair and unprofessional move,” said Wire. “They opened the job on the Pasadena website for a new head coach … but then after Tom Maher applied, they closed the applications.”
Superintendent/President Dr. Rajen Vurdien explained the legality of this procedure when it was called into question.
“Once there is an internal candidate, that is entrusted in the position then no outsiders, according to the faculty contract we had, no temporary person or outsiders are considered for the position,” said Vurdien.
Players also said during public comment that Kaumeyer applied for coaching position but wasn’t given fair consideration.
According to Vurdien, Kaumeyer was notified that after his one-year, temporary contract, he would be unable to re-apply for the head coaching position.
“We do not keep temporary coaches for more than one year. That was made very clear,” Vurdien said.
Wire’s teammate Joey Gregory went to the podium to express his concerns on the hiring process.
“We’re all here because we really care about coach Kaumeyer,” said Gregory. “This isn’t a matter of favoritism of one coach. We’re going to respect whoever comes in here. We just saw the change in the culture of the program and we believe he deserves a fair chance.”
During Vurdien’s response to the players’ comments, a number of players, including Wire, were eager to object to the policies Vurdien was presenting.
Board member Jim Osterling praised the team’s effort, despite the hiring results.
Wire came to the meeting equipped with a petition signed by 129 student-athletes in an effort to emphasize the importance of the student voice on PCCs campus.
“This is the third coaching change in the last two years and negatively impacts the student-athlete body, who seem to be an afterthought when these decisions were made…,” the petition reads. “We, the student body of Pasadena City College, are concerned citizens who urge our leaders to act now and allow that all potential coaching candidates experience true equality within the hiring process.”
The specifics of the contract were not disclosed, but Executive Director of Strategic Communications and Marketing Alexander Boekelheide, reiterated the complexity of the situation.
“I think the president (Vurdien) made it pretty clear,” Boekelheide said. “We work within certain boundaries that are set by our contracts by the Faculty Association or other organizations we work with so that just sort of sets the playing field for us.”
According to the faculty collective bargaining agreement, in order for an employee to internally transfer, they must “meet the minimum qualifications, or the equivalent, for the position.” Once a transfer candidate applies, “a selection committee with a maximum of five members, composed of the division dean/administrator serving as the chair” will vote to accept or reject the transfer by secret ballot before outside candidates are interviewed.
The committee met with Maher, a PCC kinesiology instructor who coached the PCC football team from 1996 to 2004, on Jan. 29 and voted to approve the transfer request. Maher declined requests for interviews until the board’s vote was complete.
Despite trying to understand the unfortunate circumstances, Wire and the team were disappointed in the result.
“I wish the board would look at more than just statements and by-laws,” said Wire. “I wish they would look at what people do and what they accomplish off the field.”
The team expressed their plans to continue and seek for answers to their burning questions.