At all levels, coaching turnover is a way of life. Qualified bench bosses are arriving and leaving at a rapid pace, and Texas high school football is far from an exception.
Some happen quietly, some with plenty of sound and fury. Which brings us to Jeff Merket, who left no stone unturned in his resignation letter as head football coach at Cleburne (Texas).
As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, Merket’s remarks were alarmingly pointed, as these things go.
“Athletic Director Mark Walker and Human Resources Director Kyle Boles, along with Dr. Kyle Heath, have used such malicious tactics as bullying, harassment, and retaliation, and have threatened poor evaluations and non-renewal if I did not comply with their schemes,” according to Merket’s recent resignation letter that was uncovered by the Cleburne Times-Review.
“I have received nothing but good reviews since I’ve worked for CISD. These actions are in direct correlation to my knowledge and support of Pam Lea and her $1 million lawsuit against CISD.”
Effective at the end of his contract on June 30, Merket will no longer be the head football coach or assistant athletic director. And, according to the Star-Telegram, attorneys have become involved. While Merket declined to elaborate to the paper Tuesday, he did say that he hoped to coach again while admitting “time will tell” if the incendiary contents of his resignation letter will hamper future job opportunities.
A school district spokeswoman, Lisa Magers, confirmed to the Star-Tribune that officials within the district’s hierarchy had received the letter and accepted the resignation. She said the district would have no further comment.
Lea, the former athletic director who spent several years in the Fort Worth athletic department, is seeking damages from the school school district in relation to alleged incidents of discrimination and retaliation that were pivotal to her demotion.
Merket, meanwhile, led Cleburne to a 7-4 record last fall. In a career of over 30 years, a highlight includes winning a state championship as Stephenville’s offensive coordinator in 1998. During his tenure in Cleburne, the Yellow Jackets went 27-25 for their best five-year stretch in 20 years, with 17 players from those teams going on to play in college.
While Cleburne looks for a replacement for Merket, the coach’s resignation letter will continue to echo through the city’s football community.