What (Also) Happened in Eaton: A response from the other side

In the April issue of Mile High Sports Magazine, editor-in-chief Doug Ottewill penned a story titled “What Happened in Eaton.” The piece aimed to uncover the details surrounding the public divorce between Eaton High School and its longtime baseball coach, Jim Danley. Last week Danley, who’s now coaching at Littleton High School, was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame; currently, the Eaton Reds baseball team, under their new head coach Bob Ervin, sits at an impressive 14-0. While both sides of the situation appear to be faring well, some controversy still exists with what truly happened in Eaton. And while Ottewill’s story may have provided answers and affirmation for some, not everyone agreed with it. 

In an effort to facilitate a continued dialogue on the topic, Mile High Sports agreed to publish the following letter, unedited. This particular piece of feedback was written by Luke Lind, a member of the Eaton School Board. It should be noted that Lind was contacted by Ottewill as he was conducting research for the original story; Lind chose not to respond or comment at that point. But, upon reading the feature, he did contact Mile High Sports to offer his thoughts. Lind’s letter does not reflect the views of the magazine, nor does it mirror Ottewill’s original findings. Lind’s piece, however, outlines some disputed claims within the story. 

What happened in Eaton? Please read both and decide for yourself.  

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Jim Danley sealed his own fate, and at some point needs to take responsibility. The media, needs to gain some level of responsibility, and put an end to false claims. So let’s be clear on some facts:

  • Dalton Cox never was employed by Luke Lind; he works at a local golf course. Dalton Cox has created study time in the library for the athletes, hosted batting practices and weight trainings. Dalton Cox has proven to be a selfless passionate coach who shows equal respect and care for every member of the Eaton Baseball team. Dalton Cox continues to be an exemplar model for the team and the community. The claim that Dalton Cox is directly responsible for Jim Danley’s exit from Eaton Baseball is a clear example of why Jim is not coaching in Eaton.
  • Steve Lind never threatened Kirk Danley about players not playing at Eaton during summer ball, because of Dalton Cox.
  • Kirk was never employed or named as a volunteer coach during high school baseball, but he was a youth coach during the summer. Kirk was left unsupervised and grew to be very detrimental to players and kids around him.
  • Kirk maintained inappropriate contact with high school players during school hours.  Jim Danley, functioning as the official Head Coach, was asked by school administrators to have Kirk stop, as his behavior was concerning to not only them but also to teachers in the classroom.
  • Over the next couple of years Kirk imposed himself as the general manager of Eaton Baseball. He conducted himself beyond the ethical lines of a coach, and was not being managed or controlled by the head coach Jim Danley. The disrespectful incidents, language and abusive conduct by Kirk towards players and parents for many years became intolerable.       Kirk never treated players equally or with respect. He punished players who did not fall into his way of thinking, and threatened many players and their future.   Kirk’s abusive behavior is represented in multiple incidents over the years from an indiscriminant group of players, parents, community members, and school faculty.
  • This past summer it became clear to the school district that something needed to be done about Kirk. Although Kirk Danley was not an employee of the Eaton School District, he was a liability and a detriment to the program. The district directed the head coach, Jim Danley, to handle the behavior of Kirk. The district is accountable for Kirk’s actions and his access to student athletes, and Jim Danley is accountable for the actions of Kirk.
  • Jim Danley’s response to an improvement plan proposed by the district as a direct result of Danley’s lack of handling the problem with Kirk Danley resulted in Jim obtaining legal representation. At this point all conversations and negotiations had to go through Jim’s and the district’s lawyers.
  • The Danleys created a media circus to divert all responsibility back to the school district and the community. Danley claimed there had never been any problems in his entire tenure as a coach. He bolstered himself from accountability with emotional appeals through media, falling victim to whiny kids, helicopter parents, and a corrupt left wing school board. Not once had this man called a meeting with the players, addressing their concerns and thoughts in the midst of this entire media show he orchestrated.
  • Jim claimed that he was being bullied by the school board and then it became more about a group of senior players and their parents upset about playing time rather than acknowledging Kirk was the issue.
  • At the school board meeting people speaking for Jim Danley and against him and Kirk were nearly evenly split.
  • In meetings with Mike Anderson and Mike McKay the one thing everyone agreed to was that it was in the best interest of Eaton baseball that Kirk leave. Both left the district office knowing the District’s lawyer and Jim’s lawyer are the only way the school district can communicate with Jim Danley.
  • Jim proceeded to do an interview with Russell Haythorn and stated “What these parents don’t realize is everything coming from Kirk is actually me”.
  • Jim was not offered a contract to coach Eaton Baseball due to his lack of willingness or ability to respond through his lawyer. He decided to dedicate his time to the media show and present himself as the victim. The fact that Jim never once offered any sign of concern for players or coaches on the Eaton Baseball team is eye opening, at best.
  • Forty- three out of four-forty high school teachers (one was out the day of the signing) signed a petition in support of the School Board!
  • Nearly every longtime assistant coach Jim had is still associated with Eaton Baseball, Bob Irvin, Jim’s 36 plus year assistant coach is now the head coach.
  • If people still want to blame parents for this mess, blame Kirk Danley’s father for enabling Kirk and forcing the district to have to act due to the concern for student athlete’s well-being.

The article published in Mile High Sports contains error in fact. It is an insult to the dedication and authenticity of the current Eaton Baseball Coaches and players, as well as the community that knows and clearly understands the truth. You can’t rewrite “Hoosiers” but you can learn from your mistakes if you acknowledge them!

Luke Lind

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