HOUSTON – Crosby ISD’s financial crisis, which has led to massive job cuts across the district starting back in August, has now cut deep into the athletic department.
Crosby ISD Athletic Director and head football coach Jeff Riordan told VYPE Houston on Tuesday that a total of nine coaches, including one head coach, across the district will be out of work come December 20.
“It is a tough and sad situation in Crosby at this time,” Riordan said. “We have a great school district and community. This is the type of place you want to retire and raise your kids. We lost six coaches in the RIF, had two not replaced with attrition and one resigned a few weeks ago because her job was going to be gone. Losing nine coaches and most of your budget is tough but we can make it.
“The tough part is losing such great people. They did absolutely nothing deserving of losing their jobs. They were great people and hard workers. It is like losing part of your family. Ohana is real here.”
The Crosby ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Monday to go ahead with the mid-year layoffs. The district is hoping to cut $5.5 million from the budget with these layoffs, according to a Houston Chronicle report.
According to the Houston Chronicle report, approximately 57 contracted employees have left the district this school year. Also according to the Houston Chronicle report the cash-flow issues stem from over-spending on construction projects, shoddy budgeting and bloated payroll costs.
"Every department and program in our school district has been impacted through both the reduction in budgeted spending and personnel," Crosby ISD Superintendent Scott Davis, Ph.D., said. "Coach Riordan and his amazing staff have been great examples of sacrifice and toughness throughout this heart-wrenching process. Every challenge has been met with class, honor, and dedication to what is best for our students in all areas of our district. We don’t just talk about being gritty in Crosby, we live it each day."
The nine coaches that will be laid off from Crosby ISD on December 20 include a junior high girls coach, two junior high boys coaches, an assistant tennis coach, two assistant boys basketball coaches, one high school girls assistant coach, the defensive coordinator/assistant head football coach and the head girls basketball coach.
Michelle Trotter, who has been Crosby’s head girls basketball coach since the 2013-2014 season, led the program to the UIL State Girls Basketball Tournament in the 2015-2016 season and made it to the Regional Finals last season. The trip to state was the first time for the program since 1996.
During Trotter’s tenure, Crosby posted a record of 120-59. Included in that run was a pair of 30-win seasons.
“Coach Trotter has been very successful and helped put our girls basketball program on the map,” Riordan said. “Most importantly she has molded young women’s character and became a great friend. It will be hard to see her leave. Praying she will be able to stay in some way.”
Currently there is no plan on who will lead the Crosby girls basketball program after December 20, Riordan said.
Despite the impending changes, Trotter is still firmly focused on her team getting ready for the season.
“Ta’Nya Gibson and Briauna Johnson will lead a team of young kids and I am excited to see how it plays out,” Trotter said. “Think we may shock some people and be in the mix at the end of District. We’ve had a great preseason and excited to see what these kids can do.”
Along with the staff cuts, the Crosby athletic budget was also cut substantially. The budget has been cut by 60 percent, according to Riordan, leaving some costs put on the coaches themselves.
“Our budget is very limited and programs are having to fundraise for the needs they have,” Riordan said. “The majority of our budget is going towards officials and entry fees. The rest will have to be raised.”
The budget cut has already gone into affect according to Riordan.
These changes becoming official come at a time where Crosby football is heading into Week 8 of the regular season and girls basketball begins practice on Wednesday.
“Morale is low but these coaches are professionals and come to work everyday like nothing has happened,” Riordan said. “It is about the kids and that is why we get into this business. It is without a doubt a distraction but you would never know. I work with some of the best people you can ask for and I’m glad they are on my team and taking all this with grace and humility.”
So what does the future of Crosby ISD athletics look like?
“There are obstacles in the way that we haven’t dealt with before,” Riordan said. “But Crosby will continue to be great. Crosby is great because of the people here and that won’t change and money can’t buy that.
“Crosby will still be Crosby.”
This story will continue to be updated as we gather more information.