By BEN JOHNSON
Tahlequah’s loss to Claremore on Thursday was Nick Zodrow’s final game as the Tigers’ coach. The coach confirmed the news to the Tahlequah Daily Press on Friday.
“I told Stan King and (Brad) Gilbert back in December that this was probably my last year,” Zodrow said, referring to Tahlequah’s assistant and head athletic director, respectively. “We just came to a mutual agreement.”
Tahlequah suffered a 5-2 loss against Claremore in a Class 5A regional championship game on Thursday. The Tigers ended their season at 16-18 and two wins shy of the state tournament.
It was the third straight season that Tahlequah ended up in the regional championship contest. The Tigers, though, failed to get out of regional play and haven’t been to the state tournament since 2000.
Zodrow — who went 63-94 in five seasons with the Tigers — zeroed in on the school district lacking the desire to support the program as a main reason for stepping down.
“We weren’t given everything that we needed to be able to compete at the level we play at,” he said. “We have nice baseball and softball fields out there, but we don't have any indoor facilities or any adequate bullpen space.”
“I'm not going to miss my kids growing up for a district that's not willing to invest what it takes,” Zodrow said. “The administration just didn't want to provide what it takes to be successful.”
As for what’s next for Zodrow, he’s evaluating his options.
“I’ve had about five or six job offers,” he said. “When (Tahlequah) posted the job on the Oklahoma Coaches Association website, I had 15 to 20 calls and texts that day.”
Zodrow was even asked about Tahlequah’s next baseball coach. His response was simply, “I have no idea.”