A group of 20 or so students and parents gathered outside the Nampa School District offices Monday morning to protest the recent removal of boys basketball coach James Daye.
“We just want our coach back,” Nampa senior Nick Knight said. “We want nothing more.”
Daye took over the boys basketball program June 1 but had his offer rescinded on July 25. The Nampa School District declined to offer specifics on the reason for his dismissal other than calling it a “personnel matter.” Daye served as Nampa’s junior varsity girls basketball coach last season.
“As this is a personnel issue, we cannot comment beyond that,” district spokeswoman Kathleen Tuck said last week.
The Idaho Statesman reported Friday that Daye faced an allegation of an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old female student during his tenure as the head boys basketball coach at J.L. Mann Academy in South Carolina in 1991. Daye never coached a game at the school but later coached at McKinley High in Buffalo, leading the team to the 2007 sectional championship.
The Buffalo News published an account of the allegation from South Carolina on March 9, 2008, and the New York State Education Department investigated. Daye agreed to resign, surrender his teaching certificate and permanently waive the right to reapply for a certificate in New York on Aug. 7, 2009.
Daye was never charged with a crime and maintains the allegation is false.
“We’re not getting anything real. Nothing’s coming through that’s making any sense at all. It just doesn’t seem right. It’s not moral,” Knight said. “It feels like something’s being hidden from us.”
Students and parents held signs in support of Daye on Monday morning, voicing their support for the 53-year-old coach.
“I just don’t think what’s happening is right,” incoming freshman girls basketball player Avery Trent, who has previously worked with Daye, said. “People care for him and are standing up for him.”
Daye said an anonymous letter was sent to Nampa in an attempt to remove him from the job. The Idaho Statesman has not seen the letter.
Brian Knight, the father of Nick Knight, is frustrated that an anonymous letter could have led to a coach losing his job. The group of protesters are asking that Daye be reinstated.
“How can you change someone’s life with an anonymous letter? That’s what happened here,” Knight said. “How can you affect our children like you have and take away an enormous opportunity for them? ... . We found nothing wrong with what coach Daye has done.
“... Just do the right thing and get our coach back.”