Chavez resigns from Valencia volleyball coaching position

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When the Valencia High volleyball team won the District 6-4A championship match at Los Lunas High on Nov. 10, almost nothing could have dampened the enthusiasm of the VHS players and coaches as they celebrated.

However, when head coach Karen Vanessa Chavez accepted the trophy from Los Lunas Schools athletic director Wilson Holland, the tension was visible in the awkward moment.

News-Bulletin file photo: Karen Chavez has resigned after two years as the Valencia High volleyball coach. The Lady Jaguars earned their first district tournament championship and first state-tourney berth this season.

Since Chavez had been disciplined by Holland a couple of weeks prior, it wasn’t surprising there was tension. It also was not surprising when Chavez tendered her written resignation this week after two seasons.

The Lady Jaguars went 19-4 this season, reaching the Class 4A state tournament for the first time in their five-year history. The Jags went 15-7 last year.

The scheduling issue caused the Jags to forfeit a much-anticipated regular-season finale, which ended up not being played. Chavez tried to remove a non-district match at West Mesa from the schedule, but Holland, apparently having a different idea about the Jags being at their 20-match limit, ordered Chavez not to cancel any matches.

“What we’ve learned from all this is that we all need to communicate better,” said Holland. “We have to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again.”

Holland thought that a September tournament in Moriarty was a two-match tourney, but it involves three matches. The VHS schedule does not show how many matches each tournament entails.

Chavez, whose position as a P.E. teacher at Valencia Middle School is unchanged, decided to share emails with the News-Bulletin about the scheduling issue between Holland, former VHS athletic coordinator Diana Herbst and herself. The emails show attempts by Chavez to clear up several issues.

Herbst has since been replaced as the Valencia High coordinator by Eliseo Aguirre.

The first email addresses the number of “jamborees” and scrimmages Los Lunas and Valencia are allowed to attend. Other emails show discussion about either the Moriarty tournament, the West Mesa match, or the fallout from the over-scheduling forfeit.

Jason Baca, referred to in a few emails, was the 2011-12 VHS athletic coordinator, who moved briefly to LLHS this school year before resigning. Rich Gerrells is the coordinator of athletics for Albuquerque Public Schools.

The final series of emails details a meeting between Chavez and Holland. A letter of reprimand was issued from Holland to Chavez at the meeting, and she was fined.

(Editor’s note: All punctuation and spelling has been left intact, but highlighting, bolding and special-color text is not shown. A few parentheses are used to clarify people or other information. Other emails, some of which contain information that personally identifies players and parnets, or is not pertinent to conflict between Holland and Chavez, were also received by the News-Bulletin).

From: Andrew Saiz

Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 9:36 PM

To: Gerrells, Rich C

Cc: Jason Baca; Patricia Torrez; Wilson Holland

Subject: Re: Volleyball

Rich,

I will defer to Jason (Baca) as he is still overseeing Fall 2012 schedules at this time. I will continue to oversee schedules at LLHS. This will be in effect until July 1, 2012. Thanks. Andrew Saiz

On May 16, 2012, at 2:54 PM, “Gerrells, Rich C” wrote:

Can we move the Sept 27th Volleyball match

Valencia @ West mesa to Sept. 28th

Homecoming conflict on Sept. 27th

From: Patricia Torrez

Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2012 8:25 AM

To: Karen V. Chavez

Subject: RE: Volleyball

Please provide me with your schedules on the attached form by the end of today (2:45). Thank you, Patricia

From: Karen V. Chavez

Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2012 8:23 AM

To: Wilson Holland

Cc: Jason Baca; Patricia Torrez

Subject: RE: Volleyball

The 28th is perfect for WMHS to have a HOME match at VHS as we traveled to their gym last year.

I added Socorro High away on the 9/18 and home on 9/25.

We currently have 12 matches scheduled with Atrisco Heritage, Bosque not confirmed.

How does the Moriarity and Belen tournament count in our number of matches??

Patricia said she would mail contract back to Moriarity this week.

Socorro AD said he sent our contract for here and there Tues. 5/15.

Andrew Saiz said we could use a game that LLHS didn’t need to travel to Las Vegas, NM to play West LV.?? Any schools available to play closer?? I called Hope high to see IF they have any games available.

With graduation getting closer secretaries seem to NOT be returning calls very quickly.

That’s all the info. I have.

From: Karen V. Chavez

Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 11:40 AM

To: Diana Herbst

Subject: FW: ruling

LLHS already attended a scrimmage in Rio Rancho AND they will be attending another scrimmage this weekend in Moriarity.

I do hope this will not count against their number of total matches as Jason Baca may not be aware this fact.

From: Diana Herbst

Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 1:26 PM

To: Karen V. Chavez

Cc: Wilson Holland

Subject: RE: ruling

Please do not concern yourself with what Los Lunas High School is doing! Take care of Valencia High School Volleyball.

I may be VERY new, as you have stated, but I am learning quickly!!!!!

From: Karen V. Chavez

Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2012 12:30 PM

To: Diana Herbst; Vivian Garcia

Cc: Andrew Saiz

Subject: One too many matches

Diana ~

The schedule that I have didn’t have Santa Fe High on it. Thus, I miscounted.

8/28 Santa Fe High 1

8/31 Belen High Tourn. = 2 Tournament (best 3-out-of-5) matches

9/04 Sandia Prep 1

9/07 Moriarty Tourn. 3

9/18 Socorro 1

9/22 Highland 1

9/25 Socorro 1

This equal 10

I don’t believe District play cant be changed. If canceled I think it would be considered a forfeit.

This equals 10 (more matches). 20 is our varsity limit.

Unfortunately – We are scheduled to play West Mesa High School on Sat., Sept. 28th at noon.

JV and C-team do need their matches as they are short 2 in the schedule.

How do we cancel the varsity match on Saturday?

From: Diana Herbst

Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2012 1:23 PM

To: Karen V. Chavez

Subject: RE: One too many matches

Let me see what I can do about cancelling the game for varsity.

Give me a few minutes to get to this.

From: Andrew Saiz

Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2012 8:23 PM

To: Karen V. Chavez; Diana Herbst; Vivian Garcia

Cc: Patricia Torrez; Wilson Holland

Subject: RE: One too many matches

Please allow us to work on this in the morning. We cant just decide we want to cancel matches at the last minute. We need to see how many contests Moriarty counts as. Additionally we have contracts with these other schools and if we cancel last minute we may face fines and other penalties. We will look at all factors first thing in the morning and make a decision. Expect a phone call in the a.m. In the mean time, count on c-jv-v contests to stand for Saturday.

Thanks.

Andrew Saiz

From: Wilson Holland

Sent: Friday, September 28, 2012 10:45 AM

To: Andrew Saiz; Karen V. Chavez; Diana Herbst; Vivian Garcia

Cc: Patricia Torrez

Subject: RE: One too many matches

We will not cancel the match against West Mesa on Saturday.

From: Diana Herbst

Sent: Friday, September 28, 2012 3:06 PM

To: Karen V. Chavez; Patricia Torrez

Cc: Wilson Holland; Andrew Saiz

Subject: Volleyball

Please provide me with a statement of why we exceeded our game limitations and how this happened? Who did the scheduling?

(Editor’s note): Chavez said the email above was the final communication she received before the West Mesa trip).

From: Karen V. Chavez

Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 1:17 PM

To: Wilson Holland

Cc: Diana Herbst

Subject: reschedule meeting

I need to request another date aside from today as three out of four union representative are out of town. I’d like to have time to discuss my rights with them prior to meeting with you.

The last time I attempted to communicate with you I felt bullied and disrespected. Raising your voice in an intimidating manner did not set well with me. This was in the Valencia gymnasium on October 4th during the JV match. Your anger was obvious during our meeting at VMS. I do not want to feel threatened in any way especially at work.

The earliest date they could meet with me was Wed., Oct. 24th at 3pm. Four working days is not uncustomary to give in a professional setting. Thurs. or Friday would be ideal. Thank you.

From: Wilson Holland

Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 1:36 PM

To: Karen V. Chavez

Cc: Diana Herbst; Andrew Saiz; Felipe Armijo; Ron Hendrix

Subject: RE: reschedule meeting

The meeting today will not be rescheduled. I have followed the negotiated agreement and given you 24 hours. I expect you to be there at the time scheduled on the memo you received via hand delivery from Mr. Hendrix on Thursday October 18, 2012.

We will meet today October 19, 2012 at 2:45 in Diana Herbst office at VHS.

Thank you for your time and immediate attention to this mater.


-- Email the author at jbrooks@news-bulletin.com.