Gerald Smiley quit from being Rainier Beach baseball’s coach before the team’s first practice in February. According to Smiley, his reasons for resigning after 16 months were disputes with the administration and fundraising policies.
In Smiley’s letter of resignation, he recommended his friend, Blake Anderson, who was hired to replace him.
“I could not handle it anymore and refused to work with them,” said Smiley of principal Keith Smith and athletic director George Foster. “The roadblocks and barriers of trying to build a successful program for the kids, the administration is not on board.”
Smiley was a pitcher before at Rainier Beach, and in 2001, he was drafted by the Texas Rangers. When he was hired by Rainier Beach in the fall of 2016, he brought new life to Vikings baseball right away. Beach went 10-11 in 2017. The total number of wins equaled the number of victories that the accumulated got over the past decade.
Apart from leading the team to succeed in the games, Smiley also raised donations for the program amounting to over $40,000 through a GoFundMe account. The funds were used to buy equipment and uniforms for the coaching staff and the team.
It was December 2016 when the former coach launched the site. By 2017, Seattle Public Schools altered its policy in how SPS representatives can raise funds from the community. This change in the policy banned GoFundMe as well as other crowd-sourcing platforms since it could violate state law.
Smiley expressed his doubt on whether Smith and Foster fought for the players to be able “to clearly use what helped them and gave them hope.” Smiley also remained firm about his stance on using GoFundMe.
“It was a really good platform and we’ve never seen this kind of money come through any Seattle Public School fundraiser and we need to rethink this,” he said of the talks that he had with Smith and Foster. “They said they weren’t going down there to fight the school district over my $3,000 (coaching) stipend versus their annual salary.”