September 18 - Josh Steinberg has won nearly 75 percent of his games, his league’s championship in two of his four seasons, is widely respected by his peers, and by all accounts I’ve received, has tremendous support among current and former players and parents at Patriot.
My assumption has always been that would create a dream scenario for any athletic administrator.
That isn’t the case for Brad Qualls, Patriot’s director of student activities who is apparently more concerned with how sharply the grass is trimmed around cutouts, the cleanliness of dugouts and attendance at boosters club meetings than what actually occurs between the lines.
Last Monday, Qualls called Steinberg to his office - without the knowledge of the school’s principal, Mike Bishop - and informed him that he wouldn’t be renewing his contract for the 2020 season. More specifically, he attempted to coax the coach into resigning, indicating he’d like to have the opening posted on the county’s employment site the next day.
Again, this without Bishop’s knowledge, according to what the principal told Steinberg. Bishop, reached by Steinberg the next day, asked the coach to hang tight until he was able to meet with Qualls. It took over a week for that to happen and a resolution to be made, culminating with this morning’s meeting making things official. Over a week where Steinberg was left in limbo regarding his status and had to postpone offseason workouts amid questions from players and parents as to why.
Patriot’s administration putting the coach through that was criminal. Get better. Get a hold of what’s going on in your building and in your athletic program.
According to multiple reports, the majority of Qualls’ hangup with Steinberg centered around the baseball facility. He feels the coach wasn’t spending enough time working on the field - something mind you, that a football, basketball or soccer coach is rarely if ever tasked with. And many baseball coaches aren’t overburdened with as outside landscaping companies are generally hired to offset the maintenance.
So a big part of Qualls expelling his coach was for a perceived lack of time spent working on the field? Oh, you mean the same field his teams made a habit of winning on? Under Steinberg, the program won 35 of 42 home games, had a 14-game home winning streak from late 2016 to late 2018, and his teams have lost just twice at home to league opponents.
And it’s not like Patriot’s field is something out of The Sandlot. I’ve had coaches I’ve talked to describe it as “outstanding” and “among the best in the state” in my several conversations today.
This gets deeper, trust me.
Qualls’ initial meeting with Steinberg happened on the coach’s first day back in his teaching capacity at the school after taking paternity leave following the birth of his first child. The first day back following the birth of his child. A day that’s generally full of smiles and congratulatory handshakes and hugs, spent sharing photos of the latest addition to his family, instead consisted of having his DSA take away another love in his life.
Not only is this situation a demonstration of poor institutional control, the timing of that meeting is an example of simply being a poor human being.
Here’s my impression of what’s going on here. Qualls went rogue, and in reported cahoots with a select few others in and around the program, attempted to box Steinberg in. He attempted to force a resignation without his principal’s knowledge, hoping to achieve that and the ability to advertise the opening before the principal caught on to what had happened.
I’ve been around high school baseball a long time. This is the worst I’ve ever seen a coach treated. Josh Steinberg deserved better than this. The Patriot baseball program deserved better than this.
Brad Qualls should be ashamed, and I hope the area baseball community ensures he’s aware of that.
Photo of Josh Steinberg by Fred Ingham