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Texas high school coach goes scorched earth in resignation letter

If you have to leave a job, they tell you never to burn bridges on your way out. Jeff Merket didn't burn his bridge, he detonated it like it was a hospital and he was The Joker.

Until last week, Merket was the head coach at Cleburne High School, a Class 5A school in a town 30 miles due south of Fort Worth. In five seasons on the job, Merket claims to have posted the Yellow Jackets' best record in two decades before a toxic environment within the school led him to leave his job.

Our aim here is not to wade into inner-school politics, thus we're redacting names of specific individuals mentioned here (though the full letter was originally posted by the Cleburne Times-Review), instead to stand back in awe at the, uh, gumption it takes to send this resignation letter.

I am writing this letter to inform you of my resignation effective at the end of my current contract, June 30, 2017, from my position as Head Football Coach / Assistant AD at Cleburne ISD. It has been a pleasure to work with the football program and other programs at CISD during my 5 ½ years here. I have enjoyed working with the athletes, coaching staffs, and community during my tenure at Cleburne.

Unfortunately, this resignation is due to the hostile work environment I have experienced since the hiring of new administrators under Dr. (Redcated). Athletic Director (Redacted) and Human Resources Director (Redacted), along with Dr. (Redacted), have used such malicious tactics as bullying, harassment, and retaliation, and have threatened poor evaluations and non-renewal if I did not comply with their schemes. I have received nothing but good reviews since I’ve worked for CISD. These actions are in direct correlation to my knowledge and support of (Redacted) and her $1 million lawsuit against Cleburne ISD.

Let it be known that during my time as Head Football Coach in Cleburne, the school has experienced the best 5-year record since the mid-1990s. The football program has signed 17 players to compete at the collegiate level, and has achieved a 98% passing rate during the season. Over 60% of varsity athletes have been recognized as Academic All-District, even though the school has been labeled “Academically Unacceptable” and has received a “D” grade from the TEA this past year. Cleburne is also experiencing the largest number of participants, which has grown each of the past 5 years, in Cleburne football history.

I wish the athletes of CISD the best in their future, and hope that the Athletic Director becomes more competent, fair, and equal when dealing with coaches and athletes. I’ve always done what is right for kids, but for the past 2 years I’ve been met with many roadblocks and attempts to sabotage the success of the football program. As a seasoned coach with 30 years of experience, I’ve never witnessed such lack of support from District Administration.

As I said, I have enjoyed my time at Cleburne ISD. I've learned many things in my time here, including the difficulties of succeeding in a hostile work environment. Just the sense of relief I feel in writing this letter confirms that my resignation is the right move.


Jeff Merket
Head Football Coach / Assistant Athletic Director
Cleburne ISD

the joker