Coach claims he was fired for running Boston Marathon
JUN 06, 2014 6:18a ET
The narrative of the 2014 Boston Marathon largely was one of redemption and success, as a record number of participants turned out to run the race just one year after a horrible tragedy.
One participant, however, says running the marathon cost him his job.
Matt Aguero, the head track and cross country coach at St. Gregory's University in Shawnee, Okla., was fired just two days after finishing the Boston Marathon in two hours, 35 minutes and 33 seconds.
Aguero recorded his entire conversation with St. Gregory's athletic director Dr. Jeff Potter, who told Aguero in a meeting on Wednesday, April 26, that his decision to run the marathon was a "trigger" that led to his firing after two years on the job.
"Your personal competitiveness can take away the energy and commitment to a program," Potter told Aguero in the conversation, which was posted on Deadspin.
Potter had suspended Aguero for a week after he ran the 2013 Boston Marathon. "This suspension is the result of your attendance at the Boston Marathon which resulted in your missing team practice time, class time, and a possible meet attendance," Potter wrote in a letter. However, the AD acknowleged that Aguero notified him of his plans three weeks in advance, and the coach says his assistants ran practice in his absence.
Aguero says he flew to Boston on Easter Sunday this year, while the school was closed on holiday, and flew back to Oklahoma in time for his team's Tuesday practice before he was fired Wednesday. He says he didn't tell Potter about his plans because it was an off-day for the school and the team.
Both Potter and Cheri Boyd, the school's director of human resources who also attended the meeting, acknowledged that running the 2014 marathon didn't interfere with Aguero's duties, and that he hadn't been told not to do it.
"Did I say, 'You cannot go'? No," Potter said. "But he knew my opinions on that."
However, Boyd told Deadspin, the official reason Aguero was fired "was the fact that Dr. Potter had told me he'd given a directive that was not followed by his employee."
Potter declined to comment, but Boyd said she didn't see why Aguero running the marathon was a problem or why Potter made such a big deal about it. She also said she didn't understand why Aguero has filed a grievance to get his job back, considering the situation.
"Really, I just want to be vindicated," Aguero told Deadspin. "I was fired for a ridiculous reason."
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