Gavilan Athletic Director Ron Hannon chose not to renew the
year-to-year contract of women
’s head basketball coach Michelle Mannisto, following only her
second season with the Lady Rams.
Gavilan Athletic Director Ron Hannon chose not to renew the year-to-year contract of women’s head basketball coach Michelle Mannisto, following only her second season with the Lady Rams.
“Really the only thing I can say at this point is we’re looking for a change,” said Hannon, who notified Mannisto last Wednesday of his decision. “We’re looking for a different direction than what Michelle was bringing to the table and we needed to make the change now, and we felt that we needed to make the change in the head coaching position to do that.”
The Lady Rams finished this season with a 7-20 record despite suiting up seven players. The numbers got even thinner when Noreen Bailey and Nicole Donley walked off the team late in the year.
“Ron Hannon abruptly fired me without warning, without feedback and without due process,” Mannisto said. “I feel he has handled this situation very unprofessionally, just like he did last season with our playoff scenario.”
In her first year at Gavilan, Mannisto took a dwindling women’s program and guided the Lady Rams to a 12-15 record – warranting a spot in the playoffs. But the team never took the floor to play its playoff game because of a player eligibility infraction that was reported to the conference commissioner by Hannon.
Mannisto – who was also told she would no long be needed to teach her volleyball class at Gavilan – said last year’s playoff situation as well as other disagreements with Hannon since his arrival about 15 months ago led to her dismissal rather than her abilities as a coach.
Hannon called it a “personnel matter” and opted not go into detail.
“We had a difference in opinion with the program and direction it was moving and how it was getting there,” said Hannon, who already has posted the position in the search for a new coach. “We’re going to do a search. We’ve had success in the past when we’ve done searches. I really think this is an attractive program and an attractive place to run a basketball program.”
Mannisto’s dismissal leaves Gavilan with vacancies in women’s basketball and women’s soccer.
“All Ron has done for the women’s basketball program in the past two years is tell us what we can’t do and take tickets at our games,” said Mannisto, who met with Gavilan President Steve Kinsella Feb 27 to discuss the matter. “I have high regard for the new Gavilan College president and he is currently working to resolve those issues for my players and myself.”
Since softball and football are the only full-time positions, all other coaches are evaluated on a year-to-year basis and then a decision is made on re-hiring them for another season.
“We have a lot of high expectations for this program and believe that women’s basketball at Gavilan College can thrive and be a strong program,” Hannon said. “We’re excited about the opportunities for this program in the future and look forward to moving in a new direction.”
Mannisto, who lives in Gilroy and works as a real estate agent for Century 21, was planning on staying with the Lady Rams for another season – recruiting several players from the three area schools.
Kristen Rennard, a first-year player for Mannisto, was shocked when she learned of Mannisto’s dismissal.
“I came in not knowing one thing about basketball. By the time the season ended, I was keeping up with the other college players. I learned everything from her,” Rennard said. “She’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had, in all honesty.”