Lebanon YMCA swim coach fired; parents outraged

LEBANON, Mo. The swim league at the Lebanon YMCA is a big deal, winning championships at the state level.

Their coach was fired unexpectedly. Parents were outraged and came to us to help them get answers.

"This is much more than a recreational swim league. That is what we began as eight years ago. We won the small teams championship at our area swim meet. That encompasses all swim teams from Missouri and Illinois," said Scott Long.

He said some families drive almost an hour to swim under the guidance of Coach Chris Williams at the Lebanon YMCA.

"Kids that have worked their rears off for 6 years to get to this point and at this point it's only going to happen one time in their life. That opportunity has been taken away from there because there is no way to replace what Chris Williams can do for these children. It almost feels like it's a bullying situation," he said.

"It's a very sensitive issue. I understand that it's upsetting. The 'Y' understands that it is upsetting," said Kathryn Custer, Chief Operating Officer for the Ozarks Regional YMCA

Custer explained that the decision to fire the swim coach wasn't easy.

"This is the result of ongoing personnel issues that are 'Y' related and we cannot share what those issues are. Not a decision that we took lightly or made quickly," she said.

The concerned group of parents are well aware that the coach may not be reinstated. They are working on other ways to get their kids back into the water.

Long said, "We can move up to the next level and become a U.S.A. league."

"The 'Y' wants to move forward with the swim team and in the best interest of the kids," said Custer.

"One way or another we will swim for coach Chris Williams again whether it's here or where ever he goes that's where we're going to go," said Long.

The YMCA will not consider rehiring the coach.

The parents are filing formal complaints with state and local leaders.