Jay Welsh out as WOHS baseball coach

After two-successful years with the program, Welsh was fired today — Tuesday, May 11 — for what he was told were “sportsmanship-related issues.”

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  • | 8:41 p.m. May 11, 2021
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Despite finding success over the past two seasons, West Orange head baseball coach Jay Welsh was fired today for “sportsmanship-related issues,” Welsh told the Observer.

In a phone call Welsh said he was “blind sided” by the moment, which started with a meeting this morning — Tuesday, May 11 — with Athletic Director Lisa Montgomery and Principal Matthew Turner.

“The thing that was ironic was that I set up my meeting for my own firing,” Welsh said. “I had not been communicated back with the AD — Lisa Montgomery — (because) she had not returned my emails in about two or three days and I wanted to get clarification about summer programs moving forward and whether or not we could have a banquet during COVID.”

Welsh said that Montgomery got back with him and they set up a meeting this morning, which saw Turner drop in — something Welsh was surprised by. It was also then when, he said, something felt off and an explanation of what was happening was given.

“He basically said to me, ‘We’re going to go in a different direction with the baseball program,’” Welsh said. “He said, ‘We just want to go in a different direction because we have received a lot of emails over the course of the past season from opposing ADs and opposing fans of other programs that there is an unsportsmanlike atmosphere with your team. And I go, ‘This is the first I’m hearing about it.’”

In the last two seasons Welsh’s program has gone 27-10 and went undefeated in the Metro to help push the Warriors to its first regional berth since 2017. He also has helped 11 student-athletes get to the collegiate level, while also raising $25,000 for the program, he said.

During the meeting Welsh also said that Turner spoke about the importance on how a team wins — not just the winning itself. 

“Basically I said, ‘We have a very rowdy atmosphere at our games — we have loud music that plays for our walkout songs, and we do the dugout dance in the bottom of the sixth inning,’” Welsh said. “So we do that and apparently that is not the style they want to have.”

The tension between Welsh and the newer administration — Montgomery and Turner are in their first year at the school — had been there early on, he said. 

With Welsh’s departure, the next coach will be the fourth in five years for the program — a hard thing for Welsh to wrap his mind around given what he was doing with the program, he said.

“I feel bad for the kids, because we almost won 20 games this year and I had one significant senior in the starting lineup — the rest were juniors and sophomores who we were building — and I feel bad because that team is stacked up enough to win a state title for next year,” Welsh said. “I think I could be the right guy to help them do that, but unfortunately it’s not going to me.”

When reached for comment, Montgomery declined to be interviewed for this story.


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