Petal baseball assistant coach terminated over social media post - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Petal baseball assistant coach terminated over social media posts


Social media posts led to the dismissal of the assistant Petal Panther baseball coach.

Jeff Farris, who had been an assistant coach for the Panthers for three years, was released from his position late last week, according to district officials.

“We had a situation in which there was a recommendation made to me based on the information that we had in hand through an investigation and we had to adhere to that policy that we have in place,” said Petal School District Superintendent Matt Dillon. “We have a policy in place and we adhere to that policy for all of our employees no matter what role they serve in our district.”

According to district officials the social media posts and issue revolved around Petal baseball, but no other information was available.

“All communications, email, social media, etc., are expected to be professional and appropriate based upon expectations of the Petal School District,” said Petal Athletic Director Marcus Boyles.

“All of our employees are held to a high standard with anything that they do in regards to communication and putting information out,” said Dillon.

Statement from Farris

I can tell you that I am totally embarrassed that this made the news!  I apologize to my former players and the Petal School District but I must respond instead of it looking like Im the total victim here! This all started 3 years ago when i sat a couple of players on the bench in Long Beach for being 17 minutes late!

Then last summer I took a team to the Dixie Majors State tournament with a chance to advance to the World Series!  I invited a group of players to play and her grandson  said he was going on vacation with his girlfriends family but if we advanced he was going to play in the World Series!  I made a decision that it wasn't fair to the guys that play in the state tournament and win it to allow another player to come in and expect to play when he wasnt there when we won the state!  Im a rules guy and as my post stated to her I don't care if you are the 5 star athlete on the team you will abide by the same rules!  His Grandmother began bashing me 3 weeks ago to my fellow coaches, friends and parents!  

I asked for help to handle this situation but had to pull her grandson off to the side when it continued and asked him to talk to her and he did and said everything was cool!  Well last Wednesday while Im in the PEC at Petal she copied two Inspirational posts of my page and thinking everything was cool I typed Amen and then she deleted and blasted me on the next line which cause my response!  I will say I was really angry because here I am up there working with her grandson to help him fix his hitting struggles!  My response said nothing negative in it but I believe I was let go because I tagged others in it!  I will say in my defense if they have social media policies I was never notified of them or even given a warning!  The thing that was so bad was that I was not even called in and given a meeting to tell my side of this story!  

Where ever I am I always try and help my community im coaching in as I did after the tornado!  I am not posting this to get a big pat on my back because thats not me I post this because I would think that this might get me one free pass for a minor screw up!  The early days after the Tornado that destroyed major parts of Petal i once again made a social media post asking for donations ranging from cash to supplies,water,clothes and toiletries for the Upper Elementary school and local churches!  I delivered Dr. Matt Dillon $1100 in Gift Cards as well as 5 truckloads of supplies!  I didn't do it for a trophy or anything I did for the people in the community that I had grown to love!   

My point is its not like Im just a coach that just showed up and coached baseball  I was a paraprofessional and was paid a base pay of $2000 and it got higher the further we advanced in the playoffs!  I made a mistake and I am owning up to that but for a statement to be made that we have rules about this in place and we have to abide by them I get that but as i said earlier i hold my players to rules as well and always let them know the rules up front.  

I would have no problem with my firing had I known the rules!  I want to go on record saying that Dr. Matt Dillon is a class act and has been very good to me during this whole process and i consider him a good friend!  Thank you Dr. Dillon for the opportunity and the great friendships I have gained.  I also want to reach out to the most important guys and thats my Petal baseball Players from 8th grade to High School I love you guys and you will always hold a special place in my heart and I will definitely see you at the ballpark.  I want to leave each one of you with one last thing and that is we all make mistakes it how we learn from them is what makes us a stronger person.  God has a plan for all of us in life and as Ive always told you guys you will have negative things happen in this game so just get up and brush yourself off and move to the next pitch.  Thank you WDAM for letting me make a statement!  Go Panthers on the rest of the season!

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