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St. Edward's fires head baseball coach amid petition, allegations of racism

St.Edward's head baseball coach Rob Penders was fired in early December after allegations of racism resurfaced. (ABCA/Twitter)

St. Edward's former head baseball coach Rob Penders was terminated early Friday morning after an October petition calling for the coach to be fired on allegations of racism resurfaced.

According to the anonymous petition, which as of Friday morning had over 600 votes, Penders was "investigated by the school and found guilty of":

  • displaying a racial slur in front of the team before a practice
  • telling Black players to remove their head coverings
  • relaying his family's racist history to Black players and showing insensitivity to Black people's experiences
The petition came after St. Edward's found Penders guilty of the claims but elected to have the coach take cultural background classes rather than firing him. But earlier this month, the university announced that they would terminate the head coach in a letter, saying that they found "new concerning information that caused grounds for firing Penders."

"We expect all of our employees, including our coaches, to follow our operating principles and treat one another and our students with mutual respect," President Montse Fuentes wrote in the letter. "New concerning information and allegations have been identified regarding the head baseball coach that are not in alignment with our values. As a result, I concluded that there was a need for a leadership change."

The university declined to announce what new allegations had arisen.

In his 14 years with the program, Penders secured all nine Heartland Conference titles in the school's history, led the team to the NCAA Division II World Series in 2013 and won two Regional Coach of the Year awards.

On Dec. 6, the university announced that former pitching coach Brian Faulds would take the helm as head coach.

"Bryan has proven that he has the ability and wisdom to communicate and share that knowledge with the young men in our program in a way that is impactful and influential," Associate Vice President for Athletics Debbie Taylor said. "His energy, passion, and commitment to the student-athlete match perfectly with our expectations, goals and vision for the program."


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