School Breaks Silence: Disputes Mag’s Reports, Says Patriot “Moving in Another Direction"

September 27 - Patriot principal Mike Bishop broke his silence earlier this week, albeit in an interesting fashion. 

Bishop released a letter on Monday indicating he did have prior knowledge of director of student activities Brad Qualls’ intentions to dismiss coach Josh Steinberg earlier this month. That contradicts the magazine’s reports of the situation.

In Bishop’s letter, which was dated “September 23, 2020” - one year from the actual date it was posted - he indicates the magazine’s report that Qualls initially met with Steinberg on Sept. 9 without his knowledge wasn’t true. “This inference is completely inaccurate,” the principal wrote, countering Steinberg’s recollection of their conversation on Sept. 10 and confirmed in multiple interviews with the coach. 

Bishop did not return several attempts to reach him during the magazine’s coverage last week during the fallout of Qualls’ decision. The magazine attempted to contact Bishop again after he posted his letter, and the principal hung up once he realized who had reached him on his cell phone. 

Bishop’s letter was an attempt to answer questions, but seems to have only produced more. If he knew of Qualls’ intentions, why would he indicate to Steinberg that he didn’t? Why would he then say he needed to connect with Qualls, and ask the coach to keep his meeting with Qualls private until he was able to speak with his DSA? Why did it take nine days to do so, leaving Steinberg in limbo until Qualls finally held a second and conclusive meeting?

Many questions remain in a story that has created waves in the baseball community, upsetting many in and around the program - 93 percent of parents and players disapprove, per our survey - and leading to several area coaches publicly and privately defending Steinberg.  

Bishop’s letter also states that, “I respect the work our coach has done over the past few years, but we needed to move in a different direction.”

That direction won’t include Steinberg, the 2017 6A North Region Coach of the Year who was 67-24 and won two league championships, or assistants Keith Howell and Rich Davila, who have since resigned. Howell is tremendously respected in the community and is the second all-time winningest coach in Prince William County history, having led Osbourn to 260 wins over 19 seasons. Davila was the program’s junior varsity coach and previously served as the head coach at Freedom-Woodbridge. 

Both would have been entering their second seasons with the program. 

The school posted a message this morning that the baseball program would begin offseason workouts on Oct. 2, just two days after the opening is scheduled to close on Sept. 30. It is unclear who will be running those workouts. 

Photo of Patriot principal Mike Bishop courtesy of Prince William County Schools