The 1987 alumnus of the high school resigns after three seasons with the Huskies.

by: JEFF GOODMAN - Neil Forste said his resignation as coach of the North Marion High School softball team came after he reported alleged financial misconduct involving the area youth team he runs.AURORA — Neil Forste is no longer the softball coach at North Marion High School.

The 1987 alumnus of the school was scheduled to submit his official notice of resignation this month, saying he was given the choice to step down on his own terms or be fired following alleged financial misconduct involving an area youth team he runs.

According to Forste, his resignation stems from a meeting held June 27 with North Marion athletic director Andy Jones.

On June 10, Forste said, he asked for the meeting with Jones after discovering that a coach of his NW Adrenaline youth softball team was using team money for personal expenditures.

After confronting and firing the coach, Forste said, he notified team parents about the issue to confer with them on the next step. One of the parents took the lead on behalf of the others and contacted the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to create a case number, he said.

The parents chose to pursue the issue with the coach through a civil process and have since recovered nearly two-thirds of money, according to Forste, who said he felt compelled to notify Jones of the issue because he coaches at North Marion and because the NW Adrenaline team used North Marion athletic facilities.

“Once I found out there was missing money, I requested a meeting with Andy, feeling the need to disclose the information and what we were doing as a group to fix the situation,” Forste said.

Forste and Jones met two weeks later. Forste said Jones presented him with two options at the end of the meeting: step down or be fired.

“I’m like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” Forste said. “I could not believe it.”

Jones declined to comment on details of the meeting.

“I can’t say very much because it’s a practice of ours not to comment on why we’ve done certain things,” he said.

Jones said the missing money from NW Adrenaline was an issue for North Marion PRYDE, a local organization that runs athletic activities for children in North Marion and surrounding communities.

Forste said NW Adrenaline split away from PRYDE two years ago and is not affiliated with the organization.

After his meeting with Jones, Forste took several days to come to a decision before ultimately choosing to offer his resignation.

“I’ve never been fired from anything I’ve ever done, so at this point ... I would rather turn in my resignation,” he said.

Forste leaves the Huskies with a 49-32 record in three seasons, which included three trips to the play-in round and two appearances in the Class 4A state playoffs. The high school team had five all-league honorees this past year.

Although Forste said he is disappointed with how the situation turned out, he will continue to support the North Marion softball program and continue to groom incoming high school players through his NW Adrenaline team.

“My focus is still the kids and making sure the kids are getting taken care of,” Forste said. “I’m just going to continue building that program from the outside.”

At North Marion, the next step is finding a replacement for Forste. Due to the timing of the resignation, Jones does not have to rush his search for a new coach for the spring sport. But he said he would like to have a pool of finalists for the position by September.

“We’ll find the best possible candidate,” Jones said. “I’d like to have something completed by the time we start school in September. I think it’s important ... to make sure they’re well-qualified and they fit within the community.”

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