Team management has never been a problem for Chris Wilkins, who led the Greenbrier (Evans, Ga.) High baseball team to back-to-back state championship series the past two seasons, but apparently money management has been a serious issue.
Greenbrier principal Chris Segraves relieved the highly successful baseball coach of his duties for repeated financial improprieties, according to The Augusta Chronicle.
Wilkins owned a 120-40 record in five seasons as head coach, including two straight state finals appearances, but not all of his numbers were so good.
In a 2012 memo obtained by The Augusta Chronicle, Segraves chastised Wilkins for ignoring warnings about “gross mismanagement of school funds” that led to a negative baseball bank account of $2,687.76, and the principal acknowledged similar issues played a role in his firing.
Segraves denied rumors that parent complaints or hazing rituals played into the decision, according to the report. Wilkins, whose family welcomed a baby girl during Greenbrier's run to the state finals last month, will remain a health and PE teacher at the school.
Needless to say, the news took the local baseball community by surprise on Monday.
“(Wilkins) called me at two o’clock and said ‘Guess what? I’ve been fired,’” Greenbrier baseball booster club president Clinton Hardy told The Augusta Chronicle. “At first, I was in denial and kept asking him, ‘What’s the punchline?’”
A week before the baseball boosters' banquet on June 11, Wilkins was fired after nine seasons on the Greenbrier bench as an assistant or head coach. Interestingly, his removal also followed a strange coaching decision in this season's state title series.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution game story, Greenbrier scored two runs in the top of the eighth to take a 7-5 lead in extra innings of Game 1 in the best-of-three series. But everything unraveled with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.
With a runner already on second, a pair of Pope (Marietta, Ga.) High hits sandwiched around a Greenbrier error tied the game, and then Wilkins opted to walk the bases loaded in hopes Nathaniel Lowe -- arguably Pope's top hitter -- would ground out. Instead, Lowe blasted a walk-off grand slam for an 11-7 win that started a sweep.