Jenkins Athletic Director Resigns Over Soccer Error
Mon. February 06, 2012 at 9:55 p.m. | By Solange Reyner
By SOLANGE REYNER
LAKELAND | Diane Werrick, the athletic director at George Jenkins High School, has resigned less than a week after a school clerical error eliminated the school's boys soccer team from postseason play.
Werrick, who held the position for 12 years, emailed Principal Buddy Thomas with her decision early Monday morning. Emails and phone calls seeking comment from Werrick and Thomas were not returned, but The Ledger obtained a copy of Werrick's email.
On Friday morning, the day they were supposed to play Tampa Gaither in the regional semifinals, George Jenkins boys soccer players were told they were eliminated for using an ineligible player in the regional quarterfinal on Jan. 31.
The player was a fifth-year student who did not suit up all season because he was ruled academically ineligible. He played in the one playoff game after the school cleared him, but his four years of eligibility had already expired. Werrick, at the time, said it was a "clerical and computer glitch."
On Monday, she took full responsibility for the mistake.
"A team ended their season without the chance at a state championship for no fault of their own," Werrick wrote in her e-mail to Thomas.
"Eleven seniors will live with that forever never having the chance to know if they could have done it or have the chance to try again. I just wish that they could at least know that I do understand the magnitude of their pain and how sorry I am."
The year has been a trying one for Werrick and the school.
Former football coach Matt Thompson was investigated by the School District after former players claimed he harassed and abused them. In December, Thompson was arrested on charges that he had sex with a 17-year-old female student at the school.
And George Jenkins still is awaiting fines and penalties from the Florida High School Athletic Association for using an ineligible player on the boys basketball team last season.
Werrick took over as the athletic director in 2000.
Prior to that role, she was the head volleyball coach for five seasons at Jenkins, from 1993 to 1998. She finished with a 141-35 record and led the Eagles to the state tournament final in her first year.
[ Solange Reyner can be reached at 863-802-7526 or email@example.com. ]