An Oklahoma high school is adamantly defending its now former head baseball coach against allegations he “harassed, mocked, isolated, humiliated and discriminated” against a former player who just graduated.
Mustang (Okla.) senior Riley Thomas, 18, who graduated on Friday, sued Mustang Public Schools, alleging— among other things — head baseball coach Scott Selby forced him to try out for the team despite multiple injuries to the teen’s feet caused by sea urchins while vacationing in Mexico, according to The Oklahoman.
That’s right, sea urchins.
“We believe the lawsuit is without merit,” Mustang Public Schools superintendent Sean McDaniel wrote in an email to The Oklahoman. “We will vigorously defend the lawsuit. We will not be making any (additional) public comments at this time.”
According to The Oklahoman, Thomas, who was cut from the team following urchin-gate, also accuses Selby of instructing his former teammates not to associate with him and posting a sign in the locker room that reads: “Losers assemble in small groups & complain about the coaches and other players. Winners assemble as a team and find ways to win.” The 18-year-old is seeking $10,000 in damages in the lawsuit.
The boy’s father claims his son was a talented baseball player and would like to pursue college baseball, according to The Oklahoman. Thomas was listed as a junior third baseman on Mustang’s 2015 varsity baseball roster and appeared in five early-season games (including one exhibition), finishing 1-for-7 with a single, three strikeouts and an error, according to statistics posted to GameChanger.
One day after news of the lawsuit broke this week, Selby, 51, stepped down after five seasons at the helm of the Mustang baseball program, citing a desire to watch his son play his senior season at Mustang as a fan.
“In his five years he’s done a great job,” Mustang AD Chuck Bailey said in a statement on the school’s website. “Coaches always talk about leaving the program in a better place and he really did that. Before he came here we had a losing record the previous season in baseball and he continued to win 20-plus games from there on out, including what was his best year this season.
“It will let him devote more time to what he’s already doing as an assistant athletic director. He’ll also be a mentor for the next head coach, but really he’s at a point in his life where he wants to be a dad and a fan and watch his son play.”
Mustang finished 28-11 this season, coming within one game of reaching the Class 6A state tournament.