GWINN - Longtime Gwinn High School wrestling coach Rich Baker planned to be back at his post this season just like he had been since 2004-05.
Imagine his surprise a few days ago when an opening for his position was posted internally within the Gwinn school district.
"I had anticipated coming back (to coach)," Baker, 56, said. "We're on a year-to-year contract and I normally assume I'm being renewed (each year).
"No one informed me they were opening up this position or posting it internally. I'm waiting to see the reasoning behind the posting."
First-year GHS athletic director Rob Soyring said Baker was sent a certified letter to see what his coaching plans were.
"The letter stated we hadn't heard from him if he was interested (in coming back) and to submit a letter to the superintendent's office (if he was)," Soyring said.
"We were just making sure there were no loose ends."
The AD added if Baker, a retired Ralph resident, would like to return as coach, he must indicate that interest to get an interview.
"We don't want to be left hanging (without a coach) at the last minute," Soyring said.
Baker said at this point, he doesn't plan on returning.
"I don't know the direction they're taking," he said. "With the posting, it seems like they don't want me back.
"I won't coach in Gwinn in that environment."
Baker, who also coached the Modeltowners' wrestling team from 1984-1991, admitted the past season or two "haven't been stellar" in regards to the GHS wrestling program.
"We've been struggling to get kids (to wrestle)," he said. "But this season, 14-15 may come out. Wrestling is individualized and I've had wrestlers go to districts and regionals."
Baker also said he volunteered his time as a coach.
"I never took the $3,200 a season I'm paid. I've always put it back into the program for equipment, motel rooms, things like that," he said.
High school wrestling is set to gear up in mid-November.
"It's already late in the year," Baker said.
Soyring said the position will be posted internally. Should no candidate(s) surface at that time, it will be advertised externally.