MATHEWS, Va. (WAVY) – A change following a 10 On Your Side report: Mathews High School officials told a previously dismissed wrestling coach he can get back on the mat.
10 On Your Side has been following the story of volunteer wrestling coach Jami Thompson for more than a week. He was told he wasn’t invited to help coach this year, but students and parents fought back.
“It’s been a good day,” Thompson said. “It is one of the best days I’ve had in weeks.”
The last couple weeks have been rough for Thompson, but one phone call and things quickly changed.
“It was shocking, to say the least,” he said.
Thompson has been a volunteer wrestling coach at for the past nine years, but this year he was told he couldn’t return. He believed it was retaliation for standing up for 9th grade cheerleaders when they were told they couldn’t try out for the varsity team. After weeks of going nowhere, he reached out to 10 On Your Side.
“I was really stuck,” Thompson said. “I had reached out to everybody I could. I had people, family and friends making phone calls, and we were getting nowhere. Somebody told me, ‘call 10 On Your Side.’”
Things were getting so bad, even the wrestlers were thinking about boycotting the season.
“I was not going to wrestle unless Jami came in the room,” said Mathews High senior Sam Moore.
With WAVY.com cameras rolling, Thompson, his wrestlers and parents made their case to the School Board Tuesday night.
“I left [the meeting] kind of with my hands up in the air, wondering what was going to happen,” Thompson said.
The superintendent told 10 On Your Side he wasn’t going to talk about personnel issues, so we might never know the reason behind the change of heart that followed.
“The principal called me and told me that the athletic director, himself and the coach sat down after the school board meeting and felt that it was in the best interest of the kids to be allowed back in the room,” Thompson said.
He’s allowed to coach again, and Thompson said he’s not looking to point fingers. He’s ready to move on.
“Now we get everything rolling,” Thompson said. “We rally around our coach, we really around our team and go win our state title.”
He is just thankful for all the support and for 10 On Your Side’s help. “If you want anything done, they are the ones that will help you,” Thompson said. “I called and it got results. It’s the best decision I ever made.”
10 On Your Side tried to get in touch with the superintendent Thursday. We were told he was heading out of town. We were hoping he would give us a call from the road, but it didn’t happen.
WAVY.com did get a chance to talk with the Chairman of the School Board, who said board did not influence the school in any way to allow Thompson to coach.