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Leon volleyball coach Evans resigns; contract bought out

Leon volleyball coach Evans resigns; contract bought out

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JEWETT — For just the second time in school history, the Leon head volleyball coach won’t be named Evans.

Jason Evans abruptly resigned as head volleyball coach and girls athletic director June 5 after nine seasons. Evans was bought out of his contract, which had one year remaining, for “a lot of money,” according to Evans.

Leon ISD posted a job listing for a girls athletic director and head volleyball coach June 6.

“To be honest, there were about four or five mommas whose kids didn’t get to play who went to school board members,” Evans said. “I just didn’t feel like I had a whole lot of support of the school board.”

He added that an incident in his personal life was brought up, too.

Evans said the Leon High School principal, Jay Winn, and superintendent, David Rains, are great people and said the school board went against their recommendation.

“What it’s coming down to are three or four board members,” Evans said. “I could have stayed, but why stay with people who aren’t going to support you?”

Board president Collen Robertson said Evans resigned voluntarily and would not comment further.

Sophomores Caroline Richmond and Sarah Grace Merry and assistant coach Logan Smoak spoke on Evans’ behalf at Monday’s school board meeting.

“There is no one else like Coach Evans,” Merry said. “I have yet to meet someone as passionate about success and as invested in his athletes as he is. To say that I am grateful for all that he has and will do for me is an understatement, and it is heartbreaking to think that he will not be there to push me through the next two years. In losing him, I lost not only a coach, but a mentor, my biggest fan and a friend.”

Smoak said she moved to the area to coach alongside Evans.

“He is tough, resilient, inventive, creative and by far the best coach in Texas, and yet somehow that wasn’t good enough,” she said. “His overall record is 600-70, giving him the best win percentage in the entire state. He’s gone to state six out of the nine years he’s been here while bringing home two state championships. The numbers don’t lie, and you can’t argue with the fact that [he’s] the best at his craft. Yes, he made a mistake, but in no way did it affect his job. He was never once unfair or ever inappropriate with anyone at Leon High School. I have been able to witness his character every day for the past two years, and the thing I have seen is a man who cares so deeply about the sport and his athletes that it has become bigger than a game. It is about using the sport to teach life lessons.”

Smoak said she won’t pursue the head coaching position but will remain at Leon.

“It’s a tough situation we’re in, but we’re going to move forward,” she said. “We still have great kids. We still to look forward to the season. We’re going to do awesome things. It meant a lot to have the kids up here and supporting their coach.”

Evans, the grandson of legendary Leon volleyball coach and current school board member Billy Evans, last won a state title in 2015. As a program, Leon has won 10 state titles and made 27 state tournament appearances. Last year’s Lady Cougars squad advanced to the regional final and finished with a 38-7 record (12-0 in 18-3A).

“I play to win,” he said. “I don’t play favorites.”

He isn’t sure whether he’ll stay in coaching or education, but he said he has plenty of time to think and pray about it.

“I didn’t really want to leave,” Evans said. “I’m going to miss those girls.”

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