Patriot High School is not renewing Josh Steinberg’s contract as head baseball coach.
Patriot activities director Brad Qualls informed Steinberg of the decision Wednesday. The team learned of the news right after school.
In a text message, Qualls said he “cannot comment on personnel issues. The head baseball coach position at Patriot is open.”
The players were told Wednesday that the school hopes to have Steinberg’s replacement in two weeks.
After serving two years as an assistant, Steinberg replaced Sammy Serrano as head coach and led the Patriot for four seasons. In that time, the Pioneers went 66-25 and reached the state tournament in 2017. Steinberg was the 6A North Region coach of the year that season.
Patriot returned seven starters, including Coastal Carolina commitment Riley Eikhoff, from last season’s 17-5 squad that won the Cedar Run District regular-season title. University of Virginia signee Mason Balsis joins this season's team after transferring from Osbourn Park.
The news of his dismissal surprised Steinberg. He met with Qualls at the end of last season as all coaches do and said he was told everything was fine.
Then on Monday, Sept. 9, Qualls told Steinberg the school was not bringing him back as the head baseball coach. Sept. 9 marked Steinberg’s first day back at school after taking a two-week paternity leave following the birth of his first child Aug. 20. Steinberg remains a teacher at Patriot.
“It caught me off guard,” Steinberg said. “I haven’t thought of my next move. I plan to teach there right now.”
Steinberg said Qualls told him at the Sept 9 meeting that Steinberg was not making Patriot baseball a No. 1 priority as the reason for letting him go.
“I was at a loss for words,” Steinberg said.
Steinberg said Patriot principal Michael Bishop wanted to meet with Qualls first before a final decision was made. On Wednesday, Steinberg met with Qualls and a Patriot assistant principal and was told Qualls was sticking by his original decision. Steinberg said Qualls presented him with a document listing reasons for his dismissal.
“He felt like I wasn’t getting things done in his opinion,” Steinberg said.