Sea Creatures' Opell rehired just three weeks after being fired

Former Newburgh Sea Creatures head coach Aaron Opell swims the men’s 200-meter breaststroke on the final day of competition at the 2009 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Natatorium in Indianapolis.

Aaron Opell’s time away from the Newburgh Sea Creatures didn’t last long.

Three weeks after firing Opell as the NSC head coach, the organization has decided to put him back on staff.

After being put on an improvement plan by the former board and addressing those issues, Opell has been renamed the senior age group division coach, but a formal process of rehiring a new head coach will have to be conducted.

“Aaron will obviously apply for that job again,” said Brandon Taylor, the Castle High School athletic director. “But since Sea Creatures did let him go, they have to go through a new, formal process of applicants and interviews.”

Opell’s position of head swim coach at CHS has not changed, and Taylor said he is looking forward to swim season with the new dive coach Sadie Wells.

Opell, head coach of the CHS swim team, was fired from the Sea Creatures on Wednesday, July 22.

The swimmers of NSC received an email, informing them that Opell was no longer head coach for the team.

On the following Monday, team members, parents and board members met at CHS to discuss the decision. Only board members spoke at the meeting though swimmers had prepared speeches. Nine board members have now resigned.

Amy Kolleck was appointed as the new board president and has chosen members to replace the board.

“All of the parent members that were involved in this transition made the decision they made because they thought it was in the best interest of the children and the team moving forward,” said Kolleck. “Our focus has been 100 percent on how do we collaborate, heal and have all of this be in a positive manner moving forward, so I mean that sincerely I give them a lot of credit. They are parent volunteers and they did their job to the best of their ability. They love that program as well. Everyone was doing what they thought was best for the team.”

“I decided to take the position because I love that club and this community,” said Kolleck. “And for what it does for the community, the kids, the athletes and the masters. I’m very passionate about it.”

When asked why the board made their decision to fire Opell, Kolleck stated, “No comment.”

“I truly don’t know why the board made that decision,” she said. “I wasn’t on the board at that time. We’ll be looking into that and will try to figure that out as we move forward. But it’s still an HR issue.”

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