Successful coach Jeff Hite is no longer the leader of the baseball team at North Canton Hoover High School.
Hoover Athletic Director Don Shimek, along with Principal Tony Pallija, informed Hite of the decision Monday morning.
A message left for Hite was not immediately returned.
“There were some parental concerns,” Shimek said Monday afternoon. “That is about as much as I am at liberty to say.”
Hite coached the Hoover baseball team for the past 10 seasons following a 14-year run as the softball coach. He led Hoover’s softball team to Division I state titles in 1998 and 1999.
“I have probably known Jeff for 25 years,” Shimek said. “It is a tough day any time you lose a head coach and especially someone who has been a part of your program for so many years.”
Shimek, in his 11th year as athletic director at Hoover, said the decision to let Hite go was recommended by Superintendent Michael Hartenstein.
A message left for Hartenstein was not immediately returned.
Hite won a Division I district championship in 2013, the school’s first since 1999. This past season, Hoover went 19-9 overall and 9-3 in the Federal League to finish second, one game behind eventual state champion Jackson.
Hite compiled a record of 180-103 as the Hoover baseball coach and 341-64 as the softball coach.
Hartenstein has removed Hite and veteran boys basketball coach Randy Montgomery this spring. Combined, the two coaches have more than 1,000 wins. Montgomery was not retained after his only losing season at Hoover.
Hite told the Canton Repository on Monday: “I’m not sure I know what just happened. I’m at a loss for words.”
He continued by saying “Ultimately, [Shimek and Pallija] said it was more than just playing time, but this boils down to playing time at the end of the day. I didn’t know playing time was negotiable. I always played the best kids. I don’t think I know any coach who really plays a kid for the sake of playing him. We all try to play our best kids.
“It’s sad to see it end this way. I still think I have gas in the tank and hopefully, down the road, I’m able to continue to coach somewhere.”
New coach for McKinley
The Canton School Board on Monday voted to name Bryant Bowden as boys basketball coach at McKinley High School.
Bowden is also employed as a student adviser at Compton Learning Center.
Bowden was a McKinley boys basketball star who played four years at DePaul University.