When Guy Dees was pulled into a meeting the week after Thanksgiving to be told he would no longer be the baseball coach at Garces High School, it left him in a tailspin.
His job as Garces' dean of students was not in jeopardy, but he was not ready to leave behind a game where he was a highly successful coach. Dees and the Rams had won four Central Section titles in 12 years, including the Division III crown last season.
Dees said his dismissal as baseball coach was due to “a conflict of interest from my administration role.”
Garces Principal Myka Peck reiterated, saying, “We wanted him to spend more time on his administrative duties.”
The problem was that Dees didn't see himself done as a coach. Because of that, he began a new job this week — as dean of students and assistant baseball coach at Paraclete High School, a Catholic school in Lancaster.
A.J. Gass, Garces' former football coach, currently interim dean before heading north to be special team's coordinator for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League, said Dees' heart was still in the game.
“He was a coach that worked in administration, not the other way around," Gass said. "He was a great coach and super successful at it. When you take that away, it’s hard.”
While his departure from the school was primarily because of his status with the baseball team, Dees added the timing of his removal was not ideal.
“(Anyone) that knows me knows I did not want to walk away from this program this time of the year,” he said. “We were weeks away from starting. But what can I do? I did what I was supposed to do.”
Dees said he put out feelers knowing he still has something to give to baseball.
Dees said he spoke with administration at Paraclete and before he knew it, he was offered the job as dean of students with a role in the baseball program.
“The next day I am being offered the position,” Dees said. “How do you walk away from something you’ve been doing, other than not being the head coach?”
Dees and his wife Sherri will not move from their home in Tehachapi — the drive to Lancaster is similar to the one he made to Bakersfield every day.
One sticking point, however, was Dees' two daughters, who have since transferred to Tehachapi High School. That includes Aly, a volleyball senior who was a BVarsity All-Area honorable mention this year. She attended Tehachapi her freshman year and will now graduate from the school this spring.
“That’s been the toughest part. But my girls are pretty special,” Dees said. “They were pretty defensive of dad and did what families do.”
Garces won more than 20 games three times during Dees' coaching tenure and won section titles in 2004, 2012, 2015 and 2018.
Liberty graduate and former Bakersfield College assistant coach Brian Haney takes over the program.
“I think he will do a good job and run with it and they will have success,” Dees said.