HAMPSTEAD – Topsail High School is looking for someone to lead their baseball program following the resignation of head coach Jonathan “Granville” Gehris. Gehris officially stepped down on Friday of last week after missing the entire 2016 spring season.
While the state championship coach was on paid administrative leave since late January, following an arrest for domestic assault, Gehris said it was time to part ways with the school and program that has enjoyed a ton of success under his watch.
Gehris was found not guilty of a misdemeanor assault charge during a bench trial in mid-April in Pender County District Court. He was first charged on Dec. 23, 2015 after a domestic incident and later arrested on another charge for the same incident.
The Pender County Schools division suspended Gehris with pay the next week, saying “This suspension will allow time for an investigation and is not to be interpreted in any way as a reflection of his guilt or innocence.”
On the baseball field, Gehris guided Topsail to the school’s first-ever North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) 3A Championship in 2014. They were a 25-game winner in 2015 and returned to the NCHSAA championship series this year as Assistant Coach Chris Blake oversaw the program during his absence.
Since 2012, when Gehris was first hired for the position, the Topsail baseball team has sent more than a dozen student-athletes to play college baseball. The Topsail baseball complex also underwent major renovations to its field, locker rooms and hitting facilities during his tenure.
Blake took over as interim head coach after Gehris was placed on paid administrative leave, but will not serve as head of the program next year. He will offer to help as an assistant in the future.
There’s no word yet on Gehris’ replacement.