Piedra Vista Athletic Department declines to renew head wrestling coach Stout's contract
FARMINGTON — On Tuesday, Piedra Vista High School Athletic Department officials recommended that head wrestling coach Levi Stout's contract not be renewed.
Stout, who took the job in 2007, has led the Panthers to four straight 4A state championships from 2011 through 2014.
Farmington Municipal Schools Superintendent Janel Ryan and Piedra Vista Athletic Director Kelly Thur on Wednesday declined to comment on the matter.
"Because it's a personnel matter, I can't provide any comment," Ryan said.
Stout's lawyer Sarah Weaver said he plans to appeal the decision.
"We will follow the policy and procedures to ensure that the resolution of the coaching contract of coach Stout is fair," said Weaver, whose son, Wyatt, was a junior on the team this past season.
In a letter, Piedra Vista noted seven incidents during Stout's tenure as cause for the non-renewal, including three stemming from the team's trip to Reno, Nev., for the Sierra Nevada Classic this past season.
The letter states that during the trip, students did not travel in school approved vehicles per district policy, students traveled with parents other than their own and that Stout was the registered owner of the vehicles.
It also states that ineligible students wrestled for Piedra Vista in the tournament, one of whom scored team points.
Other allegations listed included questions related to the recruiting of a wrestler in 2010, violating the eighth-grade policy pertaining to Stout's presence at a middle school wrestling event in 2011, sending a derogatory tweet about an opposing student athlete from his Twitter account in 2012, and allowing the illegal participation of two eighth-grade students who were deemed not to reside in the Piedra Vista attendance zone in 2013.
Weaver said it is their position that the descriptions of the 2010, 2011 and 2013 incidents are not accurate.
The 2010 incident refers to current PV wrestler Anthony Juckes, who Weaver said was found to be in the Piedra Vista attendance zone.
The 2011 incident was in regard to Stout picking up his step-son, Nick Rino, from the Basin Tournament, while wearing a Piedra Vista shirt, which Weaver said shouldn't have been considered a violation.
In the 2013 incident, Weaver said that one of the two wrestlers in question was forced to leave his home in the Piedra Vista attendance zone via court order after he was the victim of a crime.
"(The 2013 incident) doesn't include the mitigating factor as to why he wasn't in the attendance zone," she said.
Weaver wouldn't comment on the second student in the 2013 allegation.
Weaver said her client is hoping that Farmington Municipal Schools will take into account what is best for the kids involved.
"We hope and believe that FMS has the best interest of the kids at heart and this matter will be solved satisfactorily," she said.
Parents and past wrestlers have voiced their support of Stout and would like to see him remain as the Panthers head coach.
"I'm terribly upset," said Lauren Hardy, whose son, Wyatt, wrestled for the program until his 2013 graduation. "Levi and those coaches at PV have been instrumental in my son becoming the man he is."
Wyatt Hardy earned a wrestling scholarship to Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas, and his mother said she doesn't know if that would have been possible without Stout and the PV coaching staff.
"I don't think that would have happened," she said of the scholarship offer. "He's a good wrestler, but Levi has had an impact on Wyatt since seventh grade and encouraged him. It would be a huge void. Some of those kids don't have real leaders in their lives."
Kason Wilkinson, who wrestled for a year under Stout before graduating from Piedra Vista in 2013, said he sees Stout as a father-figure in his life.
"He's a great person and even a better coach," said Wilkinson, who wrestles for Adams State College in Alamosa, Colo. "He always pushed us up in the room. Even on a bad day or bad tourney, he would look at the bright side and keep a positive attitude in every situation throughout the season."
Wilkinson also said his opportunity in college would have been unlikely if it wasn't for Stout.
"He gave me opinions for colleges that I was looking at, and in the end, he told me to do what my heart wanted and go for it," Wilkinson said. "He truly got me to where I am."