OSHKOSH - The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh parted ways with long-time baseball coach Tom Lechnir this past weekend. Lechnir spoke out Wednesday about the process.
"I was just simply brought into a room and told to read a letter. That was the extent of it," Lechnir said.
Tom Lechnir said even after twenty-five years as the Titans' head coach, he had no plans of retiring anytime soon.
"I wanted to continue to coach baseball at Oshkosh and when I was told my contract wasn't going to be renewed on Friday afternoon it sent a myriad of thoughts running through my head," Lechnir said.
While Lechnir described the non-renewal of his contract as a surprise, a university spokesperson told FOX 11 Lechnir's contract has been under discussion for more than a year.
Alex Hummel, the UW-Oshkosh director of news services and public relations, summarized the school's position.
"Coach Lechnir's contract was non-renewed a year ago and most recently the decision was made not to extend him a new contract. So the characterization of surprise or that this just came out of the blue does not seem accurate," Hummel said.
Among the notable former players who came to support Lechnir were former major leaguers Jack Taschner and Jarrod Washburn.
Washburn came in from Minnesota to be at the press conference for his former coach. The 12 year major league pitcher praised the job his former coach did with the Titans.
"I think he did an exceptional job of teaching life skills for us an individuals to grow up get an education, learn how to prepare ourselves for future endeavors," said Washburn.
Jack Taschner, another former Titan and former big leaguer added, "Everybody here can tell you the successes they had in life and it's all based on what we learned as baseball players here at Oshkosh."
While the players spoke out for Lechnir, the school declined to comment on the reason for the non-renewal saying it's a personnel decision.
The athletic department says it will conduct a national search for Lechnir's replacement. Lechnir is currently coaching his 13-year-old son's team with an eye on possible coaching at a high level again in the future.
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