YERINGTON - Brett Edmunds, who guided Yerington High School to a semifinal berth at the 3A state girls basketball tournament two weeks ago, has been told by school officials that he will not be offered a contract to coach again next year.
Edmunds coached the program through three seasons; the Lions qualified for the state tournament twice and finished this season with a 22-8 record. Yerington finished second during the Division II regular season, behind only a Mineral County squad that went on to win its sixth state championship in the last seven years.
The Lions, with an eight-player roster, lost to Moapa Valley 38-32 in the 3A state semifinals on Feb. 25 at Lawlor Events Center in Reno, the farthest the program had advanced in the postseason since their 1990 state championship season.
Edmunds, a 1985 Yerington High graduate, did not comment on the situation, nor did the Yerington school administration.
"This is a personnel issue that we are not at liberty to discuss," Yerington Principal Keith Savage said.
Parents and players are not satisfied.
"We've tried to get some answers, but nobody will talk to us," said Byron Castellani, whose daughter, Kendall, played as a junior forward for the Lions this season. "It's a shame because the kids absolutely love the guy. He's done a great job."
Castellani offered one possible explanation for the school's decision to make a coaching change. He said one girl missed practice because she attended a cheerleading function, then when Edmunds didn't start her in the next game, she quit the team.
"She tried to get the other girls to quit the team as well," Castellani said. "She said she and her parents were going to get the coach fired."
Members of the team support Edmunds.
"I've been really upset about it since I found out about this the Monday after the state tournament," said junior forward Kendall Castellani. "He was awesome. We watched film from the beginning of the year until now and we learned so much. I learned so much, it was incredible."
She said the decision came as a surprise.
"Our administration always complemented him, so it did come as a surprise," Castellani said.
Letitia Talbot played four varsity seasons at Yerington, the last three under Edmunds.
"Any coach takes a team to state two of three years deserves recognition. He definitely knows what he's doing," said the senior forward, who earned first-team all-division recognition. "He's always been very positive, both on and off the court. He not only teaches you how to play on the court, he teaches you life skills you can use off the court."
Senior Shannin Waldaias echoed that.
"I just think he is a very good person inside and out," Waldaias said. "He taught me a lot. He taught me to never give up and always have a positive attitude."