ROSELAND — The Chicago firefighter at the center of the Jackie Robinson West boundary controversy has stepped down as head softball coach at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep.
On Thursday, Michael Kelley resigned from the $4,820-a-season coaching job after just one year as head coach. He was an assistant coach in 2012 and 2013 before taking over as head coach last year.
Kelley did not cite a reason for leaving in his letter to Gwendolyn Brooks Principal D’Andre Weaver. He did not return a call seeking comment.
In his role as Little League District 4 administrator, Kelley has come under fire from local league presidents for signing off on changes to Jackie Robinson West boundaries — a move that overlapped three sister leagues' boundaries — to pickup All-Star players who helped the team win the 2014 U.S. title. Little League rules prohibit charter league territory from being encroached upon without permission from the presidents of affected leagues.
Last week, Little League International officials were told in closed-door meetings with District 4 league officials that after Jackie Robinson West won the title, Kelley and Jackie Robinson West President Bill Haley made a failed attempt to ask sister leagues to agree to boundary changes that already had been made without their permission, sources told DNAinfo Chicago.
Neither Kelley nor Haley have responded to calls seeking comment about the meetings. Last year, however, Haley told DNAinfo Chicago that he didn’t break Little League rules when putting together the championship squad.
“Oh my goodness, we did not cheat. We did not recruit these guys,” Haley said in December. “Nothing was done to put these kids together. We absolutely did not cheat.”
According to sources, District 4 league presidents are currently considering whether to take a vote to oust Kelley as administrator. He was appointed to the post shortly before Jackie Robinson West’s boundaries were changed.
Little League International spokesman Brian McClintock previously issued a statement saying officials had completed an investigation into whether Jackie Robinson West violated rules to put together the title team and "considers this matter closed."
A final word on Little League's position on the boundary conflict is expected soon.
On Thursday, Little League Central Region Director Nina Johnson-Pitt sent word to District 4 league presidents that a final word on Little League's position on the boundary conflict is expected soon.
Johnson-Pitt wrote, "We have reviewed all of the information that was shared with us over the course of Saturday’s meetings and are finalizing the plan that will assist the leagues and district in moving forward for the 2015 season and beyond," according to an email obtained by DNAinfo. "You can expect to receive that plan from us within the next day or so."
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: