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FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas college baseball coach and former major-leaguer was fired Thursday, partially because of comments he made about players from Colorado in an email to a potential recruit, the Star-Telegram reported.
Mike Jeffcoat, who pitched in the majors from 1983 to 1994, was dismissed as Texas Wesleyan’s coach Thursday morning, university president Frederick Slabach announced at a news conference.
Jeffcoat, in an email to 18-year-old Gavin Bell of Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, Colorado, cited that state’s politicians and its marijuana policies as reasons not to recruit players from the Centennial State, the Denver Post reported.
“Thanks for the interest in our program,” wrote Jeffcoat, 58, who has been Texas Wesleyan’s coach since 2002. “Unfortunately, we are not recruiting players from the state of Colorado. In the past, players have had trouble passing our drug test. We have made a decision to not take a chance on Student-athletes from your state. You can thank your liberal politicians. Best of Luck wherever you decide to play.”
A screenshot of the email was tweeted out Wednesday afternoon by a Denver radio host.
That email, and violations of National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics rules regarding player eligibility, were the reasons for Jeffcoat’s firing. Slabach said. The school had been investigating the rule violations for about a week and reported them to the NAIA on Thursday, the Post reported.
Lol THIS really happened. Smh. pic.twitter.com/bF9ywQw15d— Darren McKee (@dmac1043) February 28, 2018
“Mike Jeffcoat is no longer an employee of Texas Wesleyan University,” Slabach said at the news conference. “He was separated from the university due to the discriminatory remarks contained in the email to a potential recruit from the state of Colorado, and for another factor that we have been investigating for the past week.”
Bell told KCNC, that he "didn't know what to think" when he received Jeffcoat’s email.
"What does it have to do with anything with me playing baseball because of past encounters and not taking a chance with me?" Bell told KCNC.
During Thursday’s news conference Thursday, Slabach said the university, located in Fort Worth, “would love to have Gavin here as a student."
Since sales of recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado in 2014, Wesleyan has had only one other player from the Centennial State on its baseball roster, Eaglecrest graduate Aidan Laurini, the Post reported.
"My intention really wasn't to do anything to hurt anybody or get anybody fired," Bell told KCNC. "It was just me talking to my coaches and my loved ones about what do I do with this."
Jeffcoat had a 25-26 record over 255 games with the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants and Florida Marlins.