The New Castle Trojans went 34-6 in 2017, finished No. 44 nationally and won their first state title in 10 years with a very young team.
That was not good enough for third-year head coach Matt Curts to get a fourth year. Late in January, the school’s administration informed Curts, the 2017 Indiana 3A Coach of the Year, that his contract would not be renewed for 2018.
On the New Castle Volleyball Facebook page, Curts said the reasons given for his dismissal were threefold:
1.) lacked academic integrity for sending an email on behalf of one of my senior players;
2.) lacked control for a couple social media issues during the season;
3.) was aware of my players taking volleyballs from schools we play
In an email to PrepVolleyball.com last night, Curts said the first reason appears to be the main one. He had a senior player who was taking a college course and struggling and sent an email to her college professor advocating on her behalf.
“They said I stepped on a lot of toes,” he explained. “I’m still shocked about not being coach at New Castle.”
Athletic director Shane Osting, who’s been in the position less than three years and is the third AD at New Castle in the past five years, told the local newspaper that the school “was looking to go in a new direction.”
The new hire will be the fifth head coach at New Castle since 2011. That includes Randy Gardner, who is now the head coach at Muncie Central. Gardner was dismissed six matches into the 2013 season, reportedly for violating the zero-tolerance inappropriate language policy, after winning 37 of his 40 starts with the Trojans.
Curts is not the first state-championship winning volleyball coach to be dismissed following a state-title win. Rich Coleman led Carmel to its only state title in 2014 after finishing runner-up in 2012 and 2013 and did not have his contract renewed. Carmel has had three head coaches in the three ensuing years and a combined record of 63-38. Coleman took the job at Zionsville this past fall and led the Eagles to a 29-3 record and No. 55 national ranking in his first year.
Neither Gardner nor Coleman responded to PrepVolleyball.com’s requests for comment about Curts’ situation before publication of this article.