McMinn County is looking for a baseball coach and posted the positions of head and assistant coaches on the TSSAA website Friday.
"Former head coach Jason Howard and his staff are to be commended for their dedication to the program over the last six years," McMinn principal John Burroughs said in a statement released Friday morning. "He and his staff have shown consistent compassion, excellent character and unyielding perseverance to the young men who have played baseball for the Cherokees. McMinn County will be moving forward in a new direction with the leadership of the baseball program."
Howard's assistant was Chris Skidmore.
Howard has been associated with the program for the past eight seasons, serving as an assistant to legendary David Ray for one season before taking on the head coaching duties.
"I didn't agree with [the decision]. They asked me to resign," Howard said. "I wasn't real happy because of the time and effort. We finally got a hitting facility up, but [Burroughs and athletic director Jimmy Haynie] said they didn't like the direction the program was going and that the ultimate goal was wins and losses. I thought there was more to it than that, but I know winning is important."
The Cherokees have struggled the past two seasons especially, winning nine games in 2012 and five this season.
"It's not my call," Howard said. "They still like me as a teacher right now. I'll be looking, but I may take a year off and see what happens locally. As much as I didn't like [the decision] in the beginning, this may be a good time in that it will allow me to spend more time with my children."
Howard and his wife have three children, ages 6 and 3 years and 7 weeks.
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765.