Former Paso Robles football coach blasts school board

September 13, 2017

Paso Robles High School’s former head football coach, Rich Schimke, who was the first of two Bearcat coaches to be ousted over the last year, spoke out at a school board meeting Tuesday, in which he chastised district officials for backroom deals, faulty hiring and firing practices, intimidation, censorship and a culture change. [KSBY video recording]

Schimke, a longtime Paso Robles High football coach and math teacher, lost his coaching job following a locker room incident last year in which he poured syrup on the belly of a 17-year-old Paso Robles player and licked or pretended to lick the syrup. The incident was caught on camera and spread through online media, igniting a feud in the community, which was split for and against Schimke.

School officials replaced Schimke with Larry Grant, a former NFL linebacker, who ended up coaching only one game at Paso Robles High before he, too, parted ways with the school late last month. Neither Grant nor the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District has disclosed the reason for Grant’s sudden departure.

Some media have speculated Grant’s quick exit from the North County coaching position could relate to his godson and nephew transferring into Paso Robles High under questionable circumstances in order to play football.

Larry Grant

Schimke spoke during public comment at the Paso Robles school board meeting about two weeks following Grant’s departure from the coaching job. Schimke’s speech, which lasted more than five minutes — more than his allotted time for a public comment — was light on specifics, but he did criticize the district for its handling of the employment dispute with Grant.

“As for Coach Grant, although I have never personally met him, I don’t feel it is right to run him through the media regarding his godson and nephew,” Schimke said.

Schimke said numerous district officials knew the teens were at Paso Robles High, dating as far back as March or April. The two boys should have at least known whether they would be eligible or not eligible for the football season, Schimke said.

The former coach also said that Grant had never been a head coach before, and district officials should have guided him on the eligibility issues.

Schimke received an ovation from much of the audience at the school board meeting following his remarks.

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We ought to applaud men like former Paso Robles Head Football Coach Rich Schimke, who speak truth to power.

The’ three stooges’ in Paso Robles Football decline are school Board President Field Gibson, Superintendent Chris Williams, and Paso Robles HS Athletic Director, and things will not be right in Paso Robles until the Three Stooges are sent back to Bakersfield/Fresno.

The celebration that resulted in Coach Schimke losing his job was just that, a celebration of player success. Although the syrup/pancake antics were slightly over the top, it, IN NO WAY, should have resulted in a 19 year veteran coach (who constantly succeeded) being removed from his coaching assignment.

When he is done teaching, I sure hope Coach Schimke runs for the Paso Robles School Board so we can begin to get this mess cleaned up.

Fire Field Gibson, Chris Williams, & Anthony Morales.

The syrup/pancake antics were not slightly over the top when children under the age of 18 are involved, period.

Luv California,

I suspect you have never been involved in coaching or mentoring our youth, as, if you had, I don’t think you would see the syrup antics as being ‘over the top’.

I am OK with his bosses telling him point blank not to ever do that again, or he will be fired, but to make that singular event a ‘fireable’ offense is just ridiculous. If he was good enough for several league championships and three CIF titles, then why did things change after 19 years?

Coach Schimke spoke truth to power, and we all can appreciate his candor.

The problem with Paso Robles Bearcat football is the Paso School Board President Field Gibson, Paso Superintendent Chris Williams, and Paso Robles HS Athletic Director Anthony Morales.

When they are gone, Bearcat Pride can be returned.

The school board sounds just like how the Morro Bay City Council of Christine Johnson, Noah Smucker and Jamie Irons acted a few years ago. Since then 4 city manager and not one has stayed, + a 168 million dollar sewer plant- remember elections count.

His eloquent speech is marred by his egregious decision to pour and drink syrup out of his player’s belly buttton. No matter how you look at that situation, it was beyond inappropriate. Now he will never ever be taken seriously or respected by his peers no matter how accurate his opinions are.

Tidepool: Consider re-reading the facts. he did not drink the syrup, he pretended to at the urging of the team. The syrup was an after game tradition for a “pancake” hit (leaving a player flat on his back after a hit).

By the way, the hit they were celebrating left the kid knocked out and he sufferred a concussion. So I agree it’s a stupid tradition, but a fire-able offense?

Wasn’t it the player’s parent who objected to the syruping? It wasn’t the school board, or the Super, or any back room deal that brought this to a head. But they had to deal with it.

It was the coaches actions, that when viewed by a broader audience, that got him in trouble. A lot of adults felt that was a bit much.

Fire-able? No.

Celebrating the pancake hit is what should be the fire-able offense.

It is similar to putting a bounty on the head of players like the Saints got in trouble for. I believe that coach was suspended and eventually lost his job too.

Teaching our kids to celebrate a hit that causes injury–leaving one unconscious–is not teaching good sportsmanship and is not good coaching. It should not be celebrated at the game or anytime afterward.

He should have led a team prayer for the player on the opposing team instead. He’d still have his job if his did so.

His job is to help raise good citizen’s-teaching his students to celebrate concussion producing hits–doesn’t help that cause.


Mr. Rich Schimke is an esteemed 19 year veteran football coach, the dean of High School Central Coast coaches, and a three-time CIF championship winning coach, and he was fired for a victory celebration that went astray?

I say the people who should be fired in Paso Robles are the school Superintendent, Chris Williams, School Board President Field Gibson, and Athletic Director Anthony Morales. Together, the comprise the three stooges of Paso Robles, and these are the people that Mr. Schimke called on the carpet at last nights school board meeting.

Once the three stooges are gone, then the rich football tradition at Paso Robles High School can be restored. Unless and until the three stooges are shown the door, the mediocrity and confusion will continue.

George Bailey

Thank you Mr. Bailey. Rich Schimke is a class act, however Paso Robles School Board should be gone, Mr. Williams also.

“tidepool” must not have every played sports. The young man that instigated the episode, is not a innocent soul. It however ruined Mr. Schimke’s football career, but not his spirit. He is a good guy.

“backroom deals, faulty hiring and firing practices, intimidation, censorship”. Welcome to academia. It’s even worse at the university level. Academic administrators: just about as corrupt and unethical as they come.

Good for the coach. The hypersensitive culture got him fired, and as a result the program is a mess.