Former SMNW player comments
On Thursday, the Dispatch learned that Shawnee Mission Northwest High girls coach Jeff Dickson would not return next season.
We asked, via Twitter, for current or former players if they would like to issue a statement.
Katie Biggers, Class of 2012 (played for Dickson for two seasons), assistant for SMNW this season
"I am very upset at the recent firing of Coach Dickson because I believe he was wronged. I've seen many high level coaches with all winning records and state teams gotten fired this year and am very confused. I do not know what is going on with the districts but I do not like it at all. Firing upstanding coaches without reasoning as to why they got fired could be used against them and is not fair. We've heard from current players that it was a couple individuals who complained to the administration that he texted to much (no issue on the content just too often) and practices were too hard. That's ridiculous. If they had an issue with something they should have brought it to coaches attention. I played under him and was there for many practices this year... They were no harder than the practices my teammates or I had. Getting a coach fired for making a practice too hard is purely a lack of toughness. A small minority of a couple players and parents should never have been allowed to make a decision of that magnitude which affects so many of the past, present, and future players of the program. Coach is one of the most caring people I had ever met in my life. He was always making sure that we got his best effort so that we would give him ours. For me personally, playing college ball was an option so he got me on coaches radars and sending them tapes and making sure they saw me and saw my abilities as a player and as a person. He also trusted me deeply. I mean, what head coach in 6A would hire a 19 year old to coach one of his teams. No coach I can tell you that. He trusts me and my opinion to the program and that means more to me than the world. The fact that he puts so much trust in one of his former players meant a lot to me and my family.”
"If you don't think that all coaches use texting now a days to keep their players informed on different practices times or different things that are going to happen then you're kidding yourself. High schoolers always have their phone on them so it's the easiest way to make sure everyone recieves information and quickly. I never thought it was too much. Plus if you get a text you don't have to respond or read it until later. Until this happened I'd never heard anyone complain about texting too much. And honestly if you really had a problem with it then why wouldn't your girls, who are becoming adults, go and talk to him personally about it instead of having them hide behind their parents. If this really was a problem the girls should have gone to him if they really felt that they thought it was a problem. Or if the parents had a problem with it they could have told their daughters to talk to him about it because they are becoming adults and will need to communicate on their own."
Mary Slattery, Class of 2012 (played for Dickson for two seasons)
I don't know how NW could ever find a better fit for Lady Cougar Basketball than Coach Dickson. The success the program has seen the past four years is a direct reflection of his leadership. He is the best coach I have ever had and it's a shame that someone who has given so much of himself to the program and brought so much success to all of his players (both on and off the court) over the years was left unfairly hanging like that. He's proven himself in every way you could ask a coach to- turning a program around, a winning record, bringing his team to state two of his four years as coach (somewhere we hadn't been in a very long time), and Sunflower League Coach of the Year. Some of my best memories are from my time on the team and he played as big of a role in that as anyone and I couldn't be more grateful to have had him as a coach."
"In this day in age I don't think there's many coaches who don't utilize texting to keep their team informed. High schoolers always have their phone on them so it's the easiest way to make sure everyone recieves information and quickly. I never thought it was too much. Plus the beauty of a text is if you're busy just don't read it until later. Most of the time it was strictly informative, saying something like practice got moved or there's a shoot around tomorrow if you want. When my class was there we thought sending a text now and then with a quote to think about or to say good job after a game was awesome. We encouraged him to send that type of stuff because to us it showed caring off the court too and that we're always thinking about how to get better. Until this happened I'd never heard anyone complain about texting too much. And if I had my first response would be have you mentioned your concern to him?
Anna King, Class of 2013 (played for Dickson for three seasons)
As a former player of Coach Jeff Dickson, it saddens and disappoints me to hear that he will not be returning as head coach next season. As a collegiate basketball player, I can say that Coach Dickson prepared me both mentally and physically for the next level. In the three years I spent under Coach Dickson, it felt, and it still does, that we were part of a family. I wouldn’t trade such a positive, enjoyable experience for anything else. I cannot believe that the current and future players will no longer experience his leadership and his life lessons that he taught on and off the court.