Ed. note: The following letter refers to an article that appeared at newtimesslo.com on June 26. Information from that article appears in this week’s issue on page 4.
I just finished reading your article regarding the passing of Jon Stevenson (“Former Cal Poly volleyball coach dead at 54”). I played on the Cal Poly Volleyball team during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. As a player who experienced Jon’s antics first-hand until I left the team in the spring of 2008, I found your article to be extremely insensitive.
I believe that you allowed the individual who wrote the article and those who published it to take Jon’s passing as an opportunity to remind the public that your newspaper played a role in his removal as head coach. The article today served as a platform to inform the readers once again of Jon’s shortcomings during his reign at Cal Poly. If I remember correctly, however, it was the investigation of Jon—not the article you printed—and a combination of other influences that ultimately resulted in his removal from the program. By that time, let me remind you, you were not the only ones publishing stories about his behavior.
Jon Stevenson had his quirks, and he definitely made mistakes as a coach. I cannot argue that. However, the death of an individual is not the time to make jabs at one’s character as you have done. He should be remembered for his achievements, not his shortcomings. He turned Cal Poly’s program around and put the school back on the map. He was an incredible player and someone who knew the game better than anyone I’ve ever met. This is a sad time for his family, friends, players, and the volleyball community as a whole, and you should regard it as such.
Let me assure you that I am not alone in feeling that the article and the staff behind it are in poor taste. You should all be ashamed of yourselves for allowing such a disgrace of an article to print. Put yourselves in the shoes of those affected by the loss rather than trying to remain the paper that brought down Jon Stevenson.