DAPHNE, Ala. (WKRG) — UPDATE: A representative speaking on behalf of the board reached out to News 5 with an additional statement.
It read, in part:
The truth of the matter is the former swimming instructor with Lake Forest Swim Team approached individual board members and parents last summer and indicated to them he was returning to school for an opportunity to pursue other career objectives. It was at that time the board was obligated to find a viable swim instructor to fill the void. Since the summer season the board conducted a search and the best candidate to fill the position was discovered. At no time has the former swim instructor waivered or communicated a change of mind regarding his intent to pursue other endeavors beyond the team.
Parents and youth swimmers on the Eastern Shore want to know why Lake Forest Swim Club coach Ross Moore, who suffered a stroke last year, was let go over the weekend. Moore has been with the team for 15 years.
Moore told News 5 he has recovered from his stroke and doctors cleared him to get back in the pool and get back to coaching. On Sunday, Moore said he was going to what he thought was a standard meeting with a few board members to discuss the upcoming 2019 season. But he was told someone else would be taking over his post.
News 5 reached out to the board member Moore said set up that meeting, but we did not get a call back. The board sent us the following statement on Facebook messenger.
Lake Forest Swim Team is pleased and excited to announce Gloria Stewart as our head coach for the 2019 season. Gloria brings many years of experience which includes volunteering her time to help coach the swim team at Daphne High School. While we will miss Ross Moore greatly, we wish him well in his endeavors in returning to school to become a physical therapist assistant. LFST has no further comment.
Moore said he never had a complaint from a parent or a board member and is still trying to come to terms with the decision.
“When I lost my first coach, he moved. I know that broke my heart,” he said. “And I don’t want this to hurt the kids.”
Several families tell News 5 Moore is a fixture in the community, which makes them strongly question his letting go.
“He has been with us all these years, he is the heart and soul of this time, he is why people come to Lake Forest to swim,” said Tracey Scott. Her daughter Riley started working with Moore when she was 5 years old.
“I was really sad because the person that’s taught me how to swim and helped me grow for the past 9 years,” said Riley.
Linda Paulson says her granddaughter also admires Moore.
“And she was going, I don’t know if I want to swim Lake Forest without coach Ross,” Paulson said.