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As a supporter of high school athletics and a Juneau resident, I was excited to see Jaime Kissner selected as the head baseball coach for the Crimson Bears in 2008. A former Division 1 player out of Northwestern State University in Louisiana, Kissner seemed to be an individual who had something to offer the program in the wake of the very successful Jim Ayers.
I took the time to watch a few practices and saw a few games and was impressed at the discipline and work ethic that I saw Kissner and his staff mentoring to their young players. However, very recently, I was saddened to hear that Kissner stepped down as the head coach. And this happened right after a very heated meeting at which Kissner and his coaching philosophy were roasted by the players' parents themselves.
I heard some argued that Kissner was trying to make this little high school program resemble that of a college program. That seems ironic considering most successful high schools mirror their programs after successful college programs. I imagine there's a reason why most successful high school coaching clinics consist of successful college coaches.
Some argued that Kissner should employ a more cavalier attitude when it comes to celebration and the use of profanity. There's a time and a place to celebrate especially in baseball otherwise the next batter might find the next pitch in his ear hole. And there's no place for bad language in sports or life in general.
I heard that Kissner was particularly keen on players attending practices and giving 100 percent. Imagine that.
But Kissner apparently stepped on the toes of the wrong folks, and although they technically didn't run him out of the position, I think it's safe to say he didn't enjoy being ridiculed for trying to teach his young men how to be better players and people in general.
So this year instead of coaching, I imagine Kissner will be spending time with his family and enjoying his time away from the all-too-political Juneau climate. And I wouldn't be surprised if the Crimson Bears actually won the state title this season in Kissner's absence, much like he did his first year in Ayer's absence. Regardless, we dropped the ball on this one Juneau and now our kids are suffering for it.