Cory Bowyer, the head baseball coach at KTHS, has abruptly resigned his coaching and teaching positions. The Katy ISD is declining to answer most questions but did issue a statement saying he had resigned and adding that it is reviewing the school's fee collection process for athletics.
After talking to people associated with the program who requested anonymity saying they feared retaliation from the school, a picture has emerged of a successful high school baseball coach whose sudden resignation may be a sign of something more complicated than the official reason provided by the school, which is that Bowyer simply wanted to "spend more time with his family."
The 44-year-old Bowyer resigned after six years on the job and 186 career wins, following a strong season which saw the Mustangs finish 22-10 and win a 6A District title. Bowyer also resigned from his teaching position in the school's social studies department. Bowyer came to KTHS in 2009 right after he won a district championship at Channelview High School, where he had coached for four seasons.
One KTHS parent we talked with said that a few weeks after the 2014-2015 school year ended, he received a phone call from a Katy ISD police sergeant who said he was investigating missing equipment fees for Taylor High School athletics.
The sergeant assured the parent that no kids were suspected of any wrongdoing, and then asked him who his son paid the annual baseball equipment fee to. The father texted his son to find out for sure. His son responded that he paid his fee, $50 in cash, to Bowyer. A few weeks later, baseball team members were told Bowyer had resigned, the parent said.
Katy ISD police would neither confirm nor deny existence of an investigation.
According to sources close to the program, Bowyer's fee-collecting methods were much looser than the operations of other sports at Taylor, such as football, which holds a preseason meeting for parents and has tables with forms to fill out describing various fee payments. But with baseball, one source said, there was no form— just a $50 equipment fee payable by cash or check, and handed directly to Bowyer.
In 2012, Bowyer and his wife, who works for Pasedena ISD, bought a brand new house in Katy which is valued at more than $347,000, according to property records. Public records show Cory Bowyer was salaried at
$56,000 $66,949.92, while his wife makes $50,000 $62,193.50.
Taylor High School and Katy ISD officials are declining to discuss the matter further. In a phone interview, Taylor High School's athletic coordinator and head football coach Trey Herrmann shed no light on Bowyer's resignation.
"If you want to talk about the upcoming football season, I'll talk about that," Herrmann said in the (very short) phone interview. "If you want to talk about the upcoming baseball season, I'll talk about that. But I've got to get out to football practice." Then he hung up.
Apparently Herrmann had time to call Taylor High School Principal Jeffrey Stocks before he went out to football practice. Shortly after we called and emailed Stocks (at around the same time we called Herrmann), Stocks sent us this reply by email, directing all questions about Bowyer's abrupt resignation to the district's communications department:
Coach Herrmann told me that he had spoken to you and told me the nature of your inquiry. Questions about employees or former employees are best directed to our communications department.
Stocks was at least able to explain Taylor High School's athletic fee, which is $50 per player. He said the "teacher of the course," which for the baseball team would have been Bowyer, is responsible for collecting the fees. When asked if that is the same fee as the baseball team's "equipment fee," he did not respond.
Taylor High School fields three baseball teams: varsity, junior varsity, and a sophomore squad. This year, the rosters were made up of 25, 16 and 16 athletes, respectively. With the "athletics fee" and "equipment fee" totaling $100 per player, that amounts to about $34,200 handed directly to Cory Bowyer during his six-year tenure (assuming the fees and roster numbers remained static).
Apparently, Katy ISD is looking into the collection of these athletic fees at KTHS. Katy ISD senior communications specialist Lindsey Saunders sent us this statement:
Taylor High School (THS) Head Baseball Coach Cory Bowyer resigned effective July 14, 2015. During his six years of tenure at THS, Coach Bowyer served as Head Baseball Coach with the following record: participated in State playoffs five years; District Champions three years; Bi-District Champions two years; and Regional Quarter-Finalists two years. THS wishes Coach Bowyer the best in his future endeavors.
Katy ISD is currently reviewing fee collection processes for Taylor High School athletic activities to ensure practices comply with policy and guidelines.
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We asked Saunders what prompted the review, and she eventually sent us this email:
Program evaluations and audits are processes the District and campuses will engage in periodically to ensure District Goals pertaining to Effective and Efficient Operations are met.
Multiple additional phone calls to Herrmann and Saunders have not been returned. Emails, social media messages and phone calls made to accounts and numbers associated with Bowyer have not been returned, and the phone number's answering machine is not set up.
KTHS has had just three coaches since 1981: Melvin Cerny, Bowyer, and now Matt Glover, who was named head coach earlier this month to fill the position vacated by Bowyer. Glover has also not returned our phone calls or emails.