Before he ever got a chance to coach a game, Daleville baseball coach Justin Hendrix has been placed on administrative leave.
Hendrix – who was hired to lead the baseball program in June of 2019 – was placed on administrative leave Thursday, Jan. 16, by Daleville superintendent Dr. Lisa Stamps.
“You are hereby notified that you have been placed on administrative leave from your duties at Windham Elementary School and the Daleville City Board of Education,” the letter read. “Your administrative leave will last until further notice.”
A second letter indicated Stamps’ intentions to recommend Hendrix’s termination, as well.
“I will recommend your termination to the Daleville City Board of Education at its meeting on Feb. 19, 2020, at 4:30 p.m. at the Daleville City Schools Central Office Building,” the second letter said.
A special called board meeting was scheduled on Jan. 16 to take place on the morning of Jan. 17 but was cancelled hours later.
“The kids are very upset and heartbroken over this,” Daleville parent Bobby Enfinger said about the situation. “My boy is talking about even quitting ball. They finally had a coach to come here and truly care about the baseball program. We haven’t had that since I graduated in 1998.”
Hendrix had even spent his own money during the offseason, buying equipment for the baseball program and for maintenance on the field, according to another parent.
Hendrix’s leave comes following tension over a donation in excess of $20,000 that had been made to the Daleville baseball program. A source close to the situation contacted The Sun on Tuesday, Jan. 14, with information that the donation had been sitting unused since Jan. 6 and no reasons had been given for this.
When initially contacted by The Sun about the donation, Stamps said she was unaware of it.
“I can’t speak to any kind of funding right now because I’m not privy to everything that is done as far as fundraising and donations and things but I will get back to you,” Stamps said.
On Wednesday, Jan. 15, the check was returned to Hendrix along with the letter from the donor – who is a Daleville alumnus and Hendrix’s aunt – with it. When Stamps was further questioned about the donation, she said that it was rescinded by the donor, who resides in Tennessee.
“We do accept donations all the time,” she said. “It is not at all uncommon to accept donations but I will say that the donation was rescinded and they came back to pick up the check and that’s all. It has nothing to do with anything else.”
James Tarbox – Daleville Board of Education lawyer – reiterated Stamps’ statement when reached for comment.
“It is my understanding from Dr. Stamps that she has been in touch with you regarding this donation matter,” the statement read. ”It is my understanding that the donor requested the check be returned and that he picked the check up at school.”
The donation of more than $20,000 was meant to go toward much-needed equipment for the Daleville baseball program. The donation was planned to be spent on such equipment as new balls, new bats, a ball cart, new uniforms, new bases, batting cages, nets, a pitching machine and more.
“We had a parent meeting (a week ago) and Coach Hendrix told us that his aunt gave a $20,000 donation and told us all of the things that it was going to do for the team,” Enfinger said. “The kids in the school that weren’t even playing were getting pumped up about it and saying that they wanted to play baseball now.
“It’s the first time any of these kids have been excited about baseball in years. My son hasn’t played baseball in two years because there was no excitement with it.”
In response to Hendrix be placed on administrative leave, members of the DHS baseball team staged a walkout on Jan. 16.
Hendrix was not given a reason why he was placed on administrative leave or why he would be terminated, but was given until the end of the day on Jan. 16 to resign.
When reached for comment, Stamps said that she was not allowed to speak about personnel matters.
“It’s a shame that it’s been such a problem but we can’t make statements about personnel,” she said. “Our board policies prohibit it. Eventually things will come out enough where people will know but I can’t give any statements otherwise at this time. People can say whatever they want to say – whether it’s true or not – but in order to protect our personnel we can’t speak on it.”
Tarbox again reiterated Stamps’ stance on the matter.
“The system cannot comment on any personnel matters in order to protect the privacy of our employees,” he said.
Hendrix said he was unable to comment on the matter at this time.