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Oakton Softball Coach: 'I Never Quit'

Ray Gordon says he didn't walk away from Oakton team; Athletics Director Pat Full said coach's resignation was filed Friday.

Oakton High School's former softball coach and the school's athletics director are standing by two different accounts of what led to the coach's departure over the weekend.

Athletics Director Pat Full told Patch on Tuesday the pair had a disagreement last week over the softball team's staffing and it couldn't be reconciled. 

Read: Ray Gordon No Longer Oakton High School Softball Coach

Coach Ray Gordon wanted to bring on an assistant the school would not hire, both men said. Full said after the argument, Gordon tended his resignation on Friday.

But Gordon says he never officially resigned.

In the course of last week's argument, Gordon said, he verbally suggested to Full if he didn't like the way the softball program was run he should find another coach. 

Gordon said he received a call from Full at 5:19 p.m. Friday, minutes before the Cougars' season opening game, saying the school had found another coach.

"I never quit. I never walked away," Gordon said. "That's the farthest thing from the truth."

Gordon said in the course of the argument he told Full if they couldn't resolve their differences he'd be happy to coach this season while they completed a full search for future years.

"I told him if he chose to go that route, I was going to stay until there was a coach in place, until there was a good relationship for the girls," Gordon said.

Read: Oakton Players: 'You're Not Firing Our Coaches Without A Fight'

Full said the issue wasn't one that could wait until the end of the season. Initially, it wasn't clear how soon they'd be able to find a replacement, but found one within the day.

"We found someone on Friday to start the transition this week," he said.

Full said both of Gordon's assistants also left the team over the weekend.

Gordon called the way the situation was handled was unprofessional.

"The bottom line is we didn't agree, but the biggest crime here is the way it was done," Gordon said. "For the kids it could've been much easier if they did a real search .... "[Full] wanted to make a change and he made a change."

Full said the new coach, Sam Newman, a former Fairfax High School softball coach, started Monday.

Newman, who returns to coaching after some time away to focus on his career and family, met with players Monday. Parents also met with Oakton administrators Monday about the transition.

While the players loved Gordon, one parent wrote to Patch the players "are all in agreement that they will support their new coach regardless of this situation."

Full said the team has one assistant in place, but his office was looking for more this week.

He said they'd be looking to hire assistants already on staff at Oakton, or, any interested community member at-large, though the Fairfax County Public Schools hiring process may take time.

"Spring break is next week, and that gives us some time," Full said.

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ts1 March 19, 2013 at 10:03 PM
So the post article was wrong? He was quoted as saying he resigned on his own terms.
LeslieG. March 19, 2013 at 10:12 PM
It was my experience that Pat Full's importance list ranked the kids at the bottom.
ts1 March 20, 2013 at 04:28 AM
That is the furthest thing from truth. His first and last thought to every sponsor, coach and teacher is making sure that every kid has the opportunity have a positive experience. Every member in the athletics office beats themself up for those kids. He holds every person accountable for their actions.
jack ma March 20, 2013 at 10:57 AM
Pat Full is FULL of himself - - he's the most important part in the equation, according to Pat Full. Fire Pat Full, Fire Pat Full!!!!!
jodi prosser March 20, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Didn't the exact same thing happen last year with the girls lacrosse coach Jean Counts? Full said she resigned and immediately had a new coach ready to go. The team, parents, community revolted and Counts was reinstated and went on to win the State Championship. Come on Mr Full, you have to get the resignation in writing!!! Dont make this an annual spring event.
oakton March 20, 2013 at 05:21 PM
Ray did not resign. He was quoted - “I [wrote] if you don’t like the way I do certain things, then replace me. And he replaced me.” On top of never once getting a face-to-face meeting with Full over the issues or the opportunity to work through it, Ray and the other coaches were fired over email and phone call. Ray never wanted to leave the program. He would never leave the girls in the middle of the season and Full was wrong to fire them at a crucial time for these girls. What athletic director fires a head coach in the middle of a season? A coach that took that team to the state tournament the year before. Does Full care that these girls are preparing to play the top teams in the state? That several girls have been working with Ray as their coach to get college scholarships and opportunities? Absolutely not. He decided that he needed to have the control and so he fired the coaching staff. Completely inappropriate.
JerryA March 20, 2013 at 10:50 PM
I think if you talk to the parents on the team-you will find out the real reason Ray and his assistants are not with the program- hint- something that would involve legal charges
The truth March 21, 2013 at 01:01 AM
The "hint" happened a year ago. So it true why did it take another season before action was taken. The parents and kids were aware.
Oaktonsupporter March 21, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Taking to some parents of players it seems the administration has not provided the information the parents requested even though it was promised the same day. Parents are now thinking there is more to this than it seems. Maybe the county needs to get involved or Richmond.

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