Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa has released assistant basketball coach Norm Parrish because his religious beliefs do not fall within the school's doctrines, coach Garry Matlock said.
Parrish, who played two years for NNC, is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Several members of the Nazarene church in Idaho and neighboring states contacted NNC President Gordon Wetmore and expressed concerns about Parrish.
The comments and Parrish's termination - which has not yet been made public by the school - have riled Matlock.
"My feelings were that we have a young man who has given us two years and has been a fine representative on and off the court for NNC," Matlock said.
Wetmore was in San Francisco and unavailable for comment.
Parrish has declined comment, other than to acknowledge that the news of his religion was made public in a column in the Idaho Press-Tribune, Sept. 15.
Matlock said the column's information soon spread among Nazarenes and then Wetmore started receiving the calls.
"I knew there were probably people who would look at that and be antagonistic toward it, but I really wish that people would trust my judgment and our president and not read into it something that's not there," said Matlock, who is considering resigning his post as coach and athletic director.
Parrish, who still aspires to be a college basketball coach, came to NNC in 1985 as a junior college transfer from Ricks College. In his senior season at NNC, he was team captain and named All-District and led the Crusaders in scoring with an average of 18.2 points per game.