Debbie Warren, longtime head coach of Barton Community College’s cheerleading program, said she was fired Friday by Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman.
Dr. Penny Quinn, vice president of instruction and student services, confirmed that as of Friday afternoon Warren was no longer an employee of the college.
Warren did not elaborate on the reason or reasons given for her sudden termination, saying she had been advised by an attorney not to discuss the matter with media. However, she said her supervisor, Athletic Director Craig Fletchall, was involved in the decision
and she feels Dr. Heilman only heard one side of the story. "I am in the process of documenting some things," Warren said.
The college’s board of trustees is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Seminar Room, F-30, of the Fine Arts Building. Supporters of Warren say they plan to attend, and have posted a plea to "Please Help Debbie" on the Barton County Cheer and Dance Alumni page on Facebook.
Warren, who has worked at Barton for 27 years, said she is one-and-a-half years from full retirement. A page on the college webside, posted as Warren was entering her 25th year at Barton as the sponsor of the cheer and dance squads, noted Warren "has coached at the collegiate level for more than 30 years. Her cheer and dance squads have competed for the past 23 in the collegiate championships, where they have placed in the top 10 for the past 13 years. Many of her former cheerleaders and dancers have (gone) on to cheer or dance at Division I powerhouses like the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Wichita State University, Florida Atlantic University, Stephan F. Austin University, Oklahoma State University, the University of Nebraska, the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky."
Among students who say they plan to speak Thursday are yell leaders Matt Mock and Luke O’Bryan.
"It’s totally all wrong," Mock said. "She’s been so big in the community and this institution. She’s a mother figure to some people."
"We really want to take a stand against Debbie getting fired," said O’Bryan, who also worked as Warren’s office aide.
Attempts by the Great Bend Tribune to contact Fletchall on Saturday were unsuccessful.