I will not offer any excuse for the unlawful behavior of Jim Hamey as reported in the Juneau Empire (Jan. 7). To do so would be an insult.
The first day I attended the Capital City Classic I immediately noticed coach Hamey was not at his usual spot. Being aware that he'd worked hard during the off-season to prepare the JDHS girls varsity for the present season, I wondered why.
Clearly, when a coach of Jim Hamey's caliber and accomplishment steps down, it's customary that some sort of public acknowledgment takes place. Yet none had. In my 15 years as sports writer for this newspaper, I got to know coach Hamey - not well, but well enough to understand that JDHS was fortunate to have one of Alaska's most knowledgeable and dedicated coaches on its staff. With that in mind, the school's silence on the transition seemed untoward.
It appears coach Hamey was led to believe he'd be JD High's coach this season. It also appears that regardless of what regulation or union rule was invoked, the administration of JDHS exercised some degree of bad faith in allowing for the removal of coach Hamey just as his 32nd season was about to begin. It is appalling to believe the school for whom this man toiled in good faith for so many years would exercise such bad faith in this matter.
Any person who has put deep dedication, creativity and true passion into one's life work will understand the rage and hurt felt when that work is suddenly and cowardly torn asunder. It's pretty clear to me the ritalin- and mediocrity-peddling administrators who dominate Juneau's public schools are not among those who would understand this sort of emotion or passion.
As I would expect, coach Hamey accepted responsibility for his misdeed and has now gone to work to repair the damage while bearing the shame with humility. Now it's Juneau's turn to repair the damage done to this great man - naming the high school gym in his honor would be a generous start. At least Jim Hamey's likeness should be placed beside the other Crimson Bears giant honored on the north wall of the school's most hallowed ground.
This community owes coach Jim Hamey much.
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