Steve Morton was let go as head coach of the Baldwin softball team last week.
Baldwin athletic director Kahai Shishido declined to discuss the issue directly on the phone Monday, but did say that four assistant coaches — Miles Sakamura, Bernard Kaupe, Danny Pagaduan and Reid Kawabata — will combine their resources to run the Maui Interscholastic League champions in this week’s state tournament. The Bears open the tournament with a quarterfinal matchup at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium on Oahu on Wednesday against Tuesday’s Campbell vs. Leilehua winner.
“We want the girls to have as normal of a state tournament as possible,” Shishido said.
The story was originally reported by the Maui News, which quoted Morton as saying he was “fired” after parents complained that he sent text messages to the players suggesting that maybe the team shouldn’t go to states if they can’t get past bickering among themselves.
Shishido did not confirm nor deny that Morton was fired, citing a Department of Education confidentiality policy concerning personnel matters.
The Bears have won the last three MIL titles and have been to the past five state tournaments under Morton.