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2003 - U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon introduces the first of several bills intended to block the 78-million-ton Cemex gravel mine in Soledad Canyon [story]


Derek Ballard spent six seasons as the head coach of Saugus boys basketball.

Derek Ballard spent six seasons as the head coach of Saugus boys basketball.

Saugus High School boys basketball head coach Derek Ballard has been fired by Saugus principal Bill Bolde.

Ballard was called into a meeting with Bolde Thursday at 12:30 pm and told the program needed to go into a different direction.  He remains as a social studies teacher.

The Saugus Centurions went 0-10 in the Foothill League this season, 10-19 overall.

“He said he didn’t know what we were doing,” Ballard said, referring to Bolde.  “He said the guys should have been better free throw shooters and he did not agree with the zone defense we were using.”

Ballard went on to say that he was told there were “a couple of disgruntled parents who complained.”

“He never warned me, never brought me in to talk to me about his concerns,” Ballard said.

In a written statement, Bill Bolde said:

“I recognize the great passion with which Coach Derek Ballard has approached his role as the leader of the Saugus basketball program and I appreciate the way he has given so much of his time and energy to the young men placed in his care.

“I have taken time over the past several weeks to evaluate the program and to consider whether changes needed to be made. After careful consideration, the decision was made that Saugus basketball needed a change in leadership. This decision was not made as a result of this year’s results, nor was it on wins and losses. As this is a personnel issue, I am unable to divulge the internal aspects of a decision like this.”

“District policy is not to discuss personnel matters with anyone,” said Gail Pinsker, Community Liaison Officer with the Wm. S. Hart Union School District.  “There are privacy issues involved. ”

Ballard called a meeting with players and parents currently part of Saugus Centurions basketball on Thursday night.

“They were very upset,” Ballard said.  “At the meeting the parents and players said Bolde never contacted them.”

Many of the freshman players at Saugus are considered some of the best in the Santa Clarita Valley.  Four freshman started on the Centurions JV, which finished 6-4 in league.  The freshman team, without those four players, finished 7-3.

“I’ve worked hard to get Saugus to respectability and we were about to get there,” Ballard said.  “Whoever comes in after will be considered the savior and me the chump.”

Approximately 30 Saugus players, parents and students turned up at the high school’s administrative offices early Friday morning in a show of support for Ballard.  They didn’t think it was right for him to be fired.

“I’m here to support Coach Ballard because I love him,” said junior Caleb Grisanti, a starter on varsity this season.  “Like Alex said he’s like a father to us. He kept us together and is a great coach.”

“He’s had a major impact (on our lives).  He’s like a father to us,” said freshman, Alex Ceccacci.  “We are a huge family.  We can’t be splitting up.  I feel like I’m losing a dad.  He’s the best coach I’ve had.”

That show of support means a lot to Ballard.

“They believe in me and I believe in them,” Ballard said.  “The whirlwind of support from players to business leaders… It’s good to be loved.”

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40 Comments

  1. What a d-bag move. I’m not surprised though. Its happened before.

  2. What a d-bag move. I’m not surprised though. Its happened before.

  3. Marc Deagon Marc Deagon says:

    Ballard went on to say that he was told there were “a couple of disgruntled parents who complained.”…How typical is that? What, little Johnny isn’t playing enough? Tell the parents to butt out.

  4. Cory Rubin Cory Rubin says:

    going 0-10 in league usually doesnt bode well for any coach

  5. Does he still have his teaching position?

  6. Stephen Gold Stephen Gold says:

    So stupid are u kidding me …..

  7. Adrienne Moe Adrienne Moe says:

    I was shocked at the way he was fired. He was never given a chance to defend himself and it was a solo decision by the principal. I don’t think the principal knows the work that these coaches and kids put into this game.

  8. Denise Ballard says:

    I was involved in a meeting with parents, players and Bolde. There wasn’t a dry eye in that room. Bolde was addressing the kids and kept referring to what’s best for the basketball program! What he couldn’t see, was right there in front of his face! That is the basketball program and they are telling you, begging you for what they want. Just listen!!!

  9. He was a pretty bad history teacher.

  10. Kim Sloan Kim Sloan says:

    High school sports are political, parent, coach operated messes out in SCV. I remember when my own son was playing football at Saugus, and he was a good player, only saw 3/4 string freshman/soph year because he didn’t play pop warner football when he was young, he was too busy playing travel ice hockey. When my son went to another school (a college prep high school Jr & senior years), the coach’s there put him on First String and they Won the State Championships both those years! I am glad the principal did his job, he must have had a good reason to fire the guy, and I do wish for future athletes in Santa Clarita all the best, and for the parents to be frustrated when their kids are not chosen to play is a valid issue, and for coach’s who don’t know how to teach the game, they should all be let go! Every child has ability and should be valued!

  11. Coach Ballard seems a bit prickly. The irony of public high school coaches is that they get a very modest stipend for coaching but the bulk of their income comes from teaching. I did find it hilarious that the Principal was criticizing free throw shooting and the choice of the defense.

  12. ThinkAboutit says:

    You can’t accuse the Coach for all. A precise team needs players too. If they cannot hit “free-throws”, then the players has to take responsiblity for it. The zone defense ONLY works if the players are synchronized and balanced. A dissapointing decision perhaps triggered by the record. It’s quite amusing and also spreads hypocracy, how these players are now reacting when a month ago I saw a post on Twitter blaming the Coaching Staff for having “Great Players” yet fails to accomplish. There are other issues concerning his firing that is for sure but the point is the players just did not compete enough in my opinion.

  13. Unless you know him personally, there is no reason to criticize. One of the best teachers at Saugus; having taught my kids. The way Bolde handled this was an unfair and unjustified. If he had a problem with Ballard he should have talked to him a long time ago. Communication is the key! You don’t just cut someone off like that. Sad day for Saugus!!

  14. Is the FOOTBALL coach next?????

  15. Is the FOOTBALL coach next?????

  16. Doesn’t surprise me that Bolde did this on his own accord. He’s always been a concerning principal. And this comes from private personal experience. If he’s still principal by the time my daughter goes to high school I’d rather put her in a private school.

  17. They NEEDED a new basketball coach at Saugus. I’m sorry, but Ballard was HORRIBLE! It would be nice to see Saugus winning some basketball games.

  18. I believe they went 0-10….just like the varsity girls did

  19. Lindsey Gill Lindsey Gill says:

    Bolde is ridiculous. First off, shouldn’t they promote having FUN in school whether you “win or lose” (or is that just a thing of the past in today’s world where we are obsessed with winning and competitiveness). Whether or not Ballard took his team to playoffs or not, he is an incredible teacher and overall a great guy. He genuinely cares about his students and to me that’s all that matters, that is the bigger picture here. Ballard is one of the few teachers I actually remember connecting with and learning from in high school, sadly I cannot say that about more than 5. Keep in mind that’s about 7-10 teachers each student gets per year for four years. And I can only recall 5 great ones. Bolde really should look at the bigger picture, firing an awesome and relatable coach/ teacher over poor basketball scores is pathetic really. But what can you expect from the man who put up a statue of himself on campus. If he’s still around when my child goes to High school then he won’t be attending the same school, with the same power-hungry Principal, that I attended.

  20. Lindsey Gill Lindsey Gill says:

    Bolde is ridiculous. First off, shouldn’t they promote having FUN in school whether you “win or lose” (or is that just a thing of the past in today’s world where we are obsessed with winning and competitiveness). Whether or not Ballard took his team to playoffs or not, he is an incredible teacher and overall a great guy. He genuinely cares about his students and to me that’s all that matters, that is the bigger picture here. Ballard is one of the few teachers I actually remember connecting with and learning from in high school, sadly I cannot say that about more than 5. Keep in mind that’s about 7-10 teachers each student gets per year for four years. And I can only recall 5 great ones. Bolde really should look at the bigger picture, firing an awesome and relatable coach/ teacher over poor basketball scores is pathetic really. But what can you expect from the man who put up a statue of himself on campus. If he’s still around when my child goes to High school then he won’t be attending the same school, with the same power-hungry Principal, that I attended.

  21. Lindsey Gill Lindsey Gill says:

    Bolde is ridiculous. First off, shouldn’t they promote having FUN in school whether you “win or lose” (or is that just a thing of the past in today’s world where we are obsessed with winning and competitiveness). Whether or not Ballard took his team to playoffs or not, he is an incredible teacher and overall a great guy. He genuinely cares about his students and to me that’s all that matters, that is the bigger picture here. Ballard is one of the few teachers I actually remember connecting with and learning from in high school, sadly I cannot say that about more than 5. Keep in mind that’s about 7-10 teachers each student gets per year for four years. And I can only recall 5 great ones. Bolde really should look at the bigger picture, firing an awesome and relatable coach/ teacher over poor basketball scores is pathetic really. But what can you expect from the man who put up a statue of himself on campus. If he’s still around when my child goes to High school then he won’t be attending the same school, with the same power-hungry Principal, that I attended.

  22. Don RT Don RT says:

    Sorry to hear it, D! Push on! You never know what’s next!

  23. Don RT Don RT says:

    Sorry to hear it, D! Push on! You never know what’s next!

  24. Don RT Don RT says:

    Sorry to hear it, D! Push on! You never know what’s next!

  25. MTV says:

    We’ve witnessed Coach Ballard in action, with multiple age groups, on several occasions and every occurrence has been positive. He maintains professionalism with his superiors, colleagues, players and parents. He is kind, courteous, highly knowledgeable, very approachable and accountable for all aspects of the game. The overall success of the Saugus basketball program has been driven by his leadership; as he has provided guidance, direction and facilities to the Frosh and JV coaches and teams. Regardless of the Varsity Team’s recent season league record, the hard working young men kept their heads up high and continued to strive, while picturing the light of salvation at the end of the tunnel. Coach Ballard, his loving family, the entire Saugus Basketball club and the families/supporters deserve the opportunity to beat the odds, defeat all false accusations and continue to strive for success.

  26. Cliff Kodama Cliff Kodama says:

    Coach Segaro was doing a great job from the performance of his Saugus Jv team with multiple freshman on it. Certainly a loss for them not having him continuing with his knowledge & dedication. Coach Segaro, if you need some gym time for your travel program let me know.

  27. Well that sucks, my son Drew just went last night to tryout to play with Legion… so now what????

  28. Lesley Woodworth-Vennero

  29. Lora Hill Lora Hill says:

    I’ve Seen pLenty of college coaches replaced with bad scores.
    Did saugus seriously lose every league game? As nice as the coach may be, ckearly statistics need to be considered especially if any student is trying to play in college

  30. Lora Hill Lora Hill says:

    Lindsey Gill do you also expect every kid to get a trophy for competing? In life there is winners and losers. High school level is almost adult age not elementary. The coach is still teaching, just not coaching anymore.

  31. Lindsey Gill Lindsey Gill says:

    That’s exactly the point it shouldn’t be about winners/ losers or getting trophies. Play the game and have fun, this isn’t the Nba it’s high school. Even the teammates were upset about how Bolde handled it.

  32. About time!!! The guys is a poor excuse of a coach, teacher and a man to say the least! Saugus definetly deserves better than that. Well done Bolde, thank you for doing the right thing.

  33. This news devastated me. I love Ballard and this just isn’t right. “F” Bolde, He is a complete douche and he should be fired.

  34. Bolde didn’t give Ballard a warning, he didn’t talk to the parents on the team, or anyone on the team for that matter.

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