CALABASAS — Unwilling to ride the bus to the end of the line, Calabasas High girls' basketball Coach Steve Spadaro has resigned, leaving his players puzzled but school administrators unmoved.
For several years, Spadaro disembarked the team bus as it passed near his Thousand Oaks home when the Coyotes returned from away games in the Frontier League.
Calabasas High Principal Bob Sutton said the coach was told in early March that he must stay with his team until the bus reached the school in order to retain his position. Instead, Spadaro resigned.
"The head coach is responsible for his or her team to and from school," said Sutton, a former boys' basketball coach at Hoover and Agoura. Sutton added that the girls' basketball coaching position was posted this week.
Spadaro said he needed to be dropped off in order to see his two young children before they went to sleep. He declined further comment.
A social studies teacher at Calabasas since 1977, Spadaro was girls' basketball coach the past three seasons and also from 1977-81. He has been an assistant for other Calabasas teams, including softball and football.
Bob Fraisse, assistant superintendent of personnel for the Las Virgenes Unified School District, said team supervision policies are made by administrators at the individual schools.
Agoura High, the district's other high school, has a policy similar to that of Calabasas, Fraisse said.
Senior Jamie Apody, Calabasas' team captain, said there had been no behavior problems on the bus rides, and that a varsity assistant or the junior varsity coach always remained on the bus after Spadaro was dropped off.
"It saved him an hour and a half and he got to see his kids," Apody said. "It made sense."
Rob Robertson, whose daughter Heather is the team's starting center, said the head coach riding on the bus is a "nonissue" as long as another responsible adult is present.
"I think the whole situation is absurd," Robertson said. "The girls put in all the effort to be contenders and for them to have their coach be fired over such a little bureaucratic difficulty is very depressing."