FARIBAULT, Minn. - The coach who led Bethlehem Academy's girls volleyball team to seven state championships in 26 years has been informed by the district he will no longer coach.

Franz Boelter wrote in a statement to KARE 11 that the school gave him three reasons:

  • Emotional mistreatment of student-athletes.
  • Lack of concern for all the players that are part of the program.
  • Failure as a coach to live up to the mission of the school in treating all students with dignity and respect.

Boelter writes, "This was the first time EVER, in 26 years as the head volleyball coach at BA or in 30 years as the head boys basketball coach, that I was talked to regarding the issues."

Supporters of Boelter who have started a Facebook group called "Fight for Franz" tell KARE 11 they believe the real reasons for the dismissal are parents upset about a lack of playing time for their teens.

Several volleyball players have protested with signs outside the school.

A district official told KARE 11 they cannot comment on the reasons for the firing, because it is a personnel matter.

Under Minnesota law, "The existence of parent complaints must not be the sole reason for a board not to renew a coaching contract."

Coaches are allowed under law to request a school board hearing to respond to the reasons for non-renewal. Boelter has officially requested the hearing, and asked that it be open to the public.

The Bethlehem Academy school board next meets Wednesday, Feb. 21.