Sports

OC baseball coach resigns from post

Olympic College baseball coach Mike Reese resigned Thursday amid recent incidences regarding the team.

The team and coaching staff which had been suspended since Monday, have been reinstated following an investigation by the athletic department, OC athletic director Barry Janusch said. The investigation cleared the players of misconduct.

After playing Skagit Valley in Mount Vernon on Sunday, the team began driving back in two vans, with Reese driving one and assistant coach Justin Gabriel driving the other. A player was driving at the time of the incident. Janusch said players can drive school vans with a valid license and two years of experience. The second van was in front of a car driven by a 17-year-old female. Players in the van were holding up signs rating her appearance. Both vehicles were pulled over in Gorst and cited for speeding. The female's father then called the college concerned about the players' behavior, sparking the suspensions and investigation.

"I was asked to resign because of the improper behavior of players and assistant coaches," Reese said. "Even though they were 20 miles behind us, I'm still responsible as the coach."

Reese said he told assistant coach Justin Gabriel that he intended to drive straight back to Bremerton with no stops.

"Somebody had to use the restrooms," Reese said. "I wasn't very happy with the way things turned out (in the games) so I said, 'We're driving straight through. It's on you to take charge.' They were making signs to another vehicle and got a ticket. When I saw the assistant coach he didn't even mention it at all. Ultimately, it's my responsibility so that's where it lands. When you've got 24 players, you can't control everybody."

Reese's resignation is effective immediately, he said. An OC press release announced that Gabriel will assume the role of interim head coach. Reese also said it was based on past incidences as well, including conduct of the team while on a road trip earlier this season.

"There's been players at the hotel on our first trip that missed bed checks and were being a little disruptive," he said. "There was a letter (from the hotel manager) written saying the team was immature a little bit."

In the press release, Janusch said the players had been warned about their conduct previously.

"The players and coaches had been counseled about the rowdy behavior and what the college’s expectations were," Janusch said. "They were advised about the consequences, which could include cancelling the season. We took this matter very seriously after we learned about the event on Sunday and started the investigation to determine if any student misconduct occurred.”

But Reese, who said assistant coaches were also left in charge during that stay, said the team had also received positive feedback on other road trips this year.

Then we got a letter saying the team behaved great," he said. "There were lots of positive comments. And since then, everything has been fine."

"The incident that happened on Sunday was one of a couple of different things that happened," Janusch said.

According to the press release, the investigation included interviewing players, coaches and the 17-year-old and her father.

After being asked to resign, Reese said he understood that as the coach, he was ultimately responsible even though he said he was not present at the alleged incidences.

"In my five years, I've done everything I could for the college, the community and the individual players," Reese said. "It was very frustrating for me to see the lack of community support for baseball. I really wish everybody would work harder for the players. I tried that, and apparently it didn't work. If they want to go in another direction, that's there choice to do that."

OC first baseman Alan Stabler, who was in the first van with Reese, said it's been difficult to figure out what happened even as a member of the team.

"Everyone else is saying what happened this weekend wasn't a big deal," Stabler said. "But more of a big build up of what's been going on over the course of the season. We haven't been playing well, lots of players weren't doing what they're supposed to be doing in the van. I'm not really sure what happened because we've heard a lot of different stories."

After Reese told the team the news, Stabler said the squad was "shocked," adding that Reese directly recruited him and most of the team to OC.

"We were all in shock," Stabler said. "It was just weird. It's going to be weird not having him around. He's the one that got most of us to come here.

"It's gonna be weird. I've known coach Reese since I was in ninth grade. He's a really nice guy. It's just a shock to see him take the harsh end of this whole thing."

Because of the suspensions, the team rescheduled its upcoming games with Bellevue as follows: Today, OC at Bellevue for a double header before returning Monday for two games at the Kitsap Fairgrounds Ballfields at 1 p.m., also against Bellevue.

In five seasons at OC, Reese has gone 51-132, including the team's 2-27 record this season. Reese has been the head coach since 2002.

Janusch said there is no police investigation or any other investigations from within the university.

As for his future, Reese said he's unsure what it will hold baseball-wise.

"I've been going nonstop in baseball for 25 years," Reese said. "I don't know. We'll see. I tried."

Mike Reese

"having misconduct on the road Sunday night coming home from Mount Vernon. The assistant coach's vehicle was pulled over for speeding.

Ast. coaches in charge then

"Latest incident

Didn't pack ferry passes, too expensive otherwise.

"If you ask the players, I think they're having a good time. They're still improving. We've gone through four major injuries, we've lost players to ineligibilities."I've had 14 different assistant coaches in four seasons. I come to work at 4:30 a.m. all summer to help prepare. It's difficult to run by yourself.

68-74 hours a week in offseason

100+ hours in season

"I don;t know what more they want.

Alan Stabler

"We just found out 20 minutes ago that we're off suspension. We're playing this weekend.

"When coach Reese came and talked to us today, we were all pretty shocked. I don't see what he had to do with any of it. The only thing I could think is just little stuff from over the past because he had nothing to do with it.

"That's all we really can do. Just try to salvage the season the best we can now.

Barry Janusch

Sat/Mon doubleheader with Bellevue

"We're shooting for today. We're trying to get it done as quickly as we can so we can get on with things.

"There's going to be that picking up the pieces, I'm hoping everyone has learned something from this.

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