Kentucky HS baseball coach let go after players reportedly made racist slurs at teammate

Under investigation by Jefferson County Public Schools, Chris Ryan confirmed Wednesday morning that he will not return as Butler High School’s baseball coach next season.

“My contract, as of (Tuesday), I was told I would not be renewed,” Ryan said Wednesday morning.

WDRB News first reported Ryan would not return as Butler’s coach.

“Never been more disappointed in an administration than today,” Ryan wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “Right now I’m going to take the high road. Just know that I’m fully prepared to tell the whole truth and I intend to do just that.”

Ryan, a biology teacher at Doss High School, was 10-6 in his first season as Butler’s head coach before being suspended April 22. Ryan said Butler principal William Allen told him “to ‘step aside’ and told me that it was in my best interest.”

More: JCPS investigates Butler coach after players reportedly directed slurs at teammate

Joe Scheper served as interim head coach the remainder of the season as Butler finished 18-15 and lost to Southern in the first round of the Sixth Region Tournament.

WDRB reported Ryan was suspended after Gary Austin, the father of a Butler player, complained to Butler officials “that his son was the target of racial epithets during his senior campaign with the team.” Trey Austin is listed as a senior third baseman and outfielder on the 2019 Butler roster.

Thomas Clay, Ryan’s attorney, told WDRB that no one brought the allegations to Ryan’s attention.

“I think anybody can be assured that if they had been brought to his attention, he would have taken affirmative and positive action to address these comments,” Clay told WDRB.

Clay said Wednesday he and Ryan will meet soon to discuss their options.

“We’ll try to come up with a plan on how he’s going to address what these people have said about him,” Clay said. “I think it’s outrageous what they’ve done to this guy. He’s anything but a racist. He’s a damn good baseball coach. The idea they can come in there and make these unfounded accusations and wreck his coaching career like this, to me, that’s a problem.”

Ryan, 34, said he has a contract to continue teaching at Doss during the 2019-20 school year and that he plans to pursue other coaching positions. Ryan is a 2003 Bullitt East High School graduate who has coached baseball for 13 seasons — nine as an assistant at Bullitt East and three (2016-18) as the head coach at Doss before taking the Butler job.

An online petition asking for Ryan to be reinstated as Butler’s coach has reached 673 supporters.

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