Pine City Basketball Coach Wicktor’s Contract Not Being Renewed
In a surprising development, the head coach for Pine City’s Boys Varsity Basketball team has found out his contract won’t be renewed. Eric Wicktor, who has coached the Dragons for nine seasons, has been told he will no longer be serving in that capacity for the 2011-12 season.
A person very close to the situation tells WCMP that Wicktor was “shocked when he found out,” and that the players whom he has coached have universally “loved and respected him.” The same source says it’s a bizarre situation because it doesn’t appear that the school board has a replacement in mind. This unnamed source believes the action may be the result of “one or two very vocal parents” who pushed hard for Wicktor’s ouster.
Apparently Wicktor was notified of the decision just prior to Easter break.
Pine City Schools Superintendent Dennis Fischer (who has had 3 sons play for Wicktor) and Principal George Johnson were not immediately available for comment, however we have left messages for both men.
Wicktor is the second-longest tenured coach in the Great River Conference (next to Braham’s legendary coach Bob Vaughan), and led the Dragons to winning seasons in four of the last six campaigns (prior records unavailable). The team’s best year under Wicktor’s direction was 2007-08 when the Dragons went 24-6 and lost in the Section Championship Game to Braham by 4 points. That season Pine City was 15-1 in conference play.
The Dragons had a bit of a down season in 2010-11, finishing with a 9-18 record and losing their last 7 games. Pine City’s conference record was 9-7 though, good enough for third place ahead of teams in Isle, Rush City, Aitkin, Hinckley-Finlayson, Onamia and Ogilvie. The Dragons were 0-11 out of conference.
WCMP is also reporting that Wicktor intends to contest this decision, likely in front of the school board at the next meeting.
Wicktor is very well liked in the community, and often spends much of his downtime working with kids as young as third grade on their basketball skills – in hopes of building the program up for long-term success. His passion and infectious leadership style have endeared him to players and parents alike.
Unlike teaching jobs where tenure can prevent teachers from being fired, positions like Wicktor’s are renewed on an annual basis.
(Picture taken from Pine City High School’s Website)