One year after winning a national championship, Miami Dade College has dismissed Head Softball Coach Carlos Caro, according to Athletic Director Anthony Fiorenza.
Caro, who was let go on Oct. 25, said he was not given a specific reason for his dismissal. He said that Kendall Campus’ Dean of Students Veronica Owles told him that “the College has chosen to move in a different direction.”
Owles, who is Fiorenza’s supervisor, declined comment concerning why Caro, who was a part-timer, was dismissed.
“It was a shock to [the team]; we didn’t expect it at all,” said MDC softball team captain, Allora Miller. “We were at practice when we found out and everyone was heartbroken.”
According to College Procedure 2410, College Attorney Carmen Dominguez says part-timers are not entitled to the same benefits and procedures as full-timers.
“Part-timers are not entitled to grievance; it is employment at will,” Dominguez said. “As long as its not illegal termination, they don’t have to tell him. It would be up to him to decide if it was unjust.”
Caro, 42, said he is baffled by the move. Searching for answers, he requested his personnel file from the human resources department at the College.
The file contains only one incident, a verbal altercation that occurred between Caro and an assistant coach at Indian River Community College in 2006. Caro admitted to using foul language. He apologized to his players and was suspended for five games without pay.
No other reprimands are listed in his personnel file.
In recent years, Caro has been outspoken about what he perceived as a lack of quality facilities for his softball team. He had worked on getting several facilities improved, such as the bathrooms by the field, a concrete dugout, and a walkway from the field to the gymnasium.
Construction for bathroom facilities began earlier this year and is expected to be completed by the end of November, according to Kendall Campus’ Dean of Administration Gloria Baez. The walkway has already been created.
In addition, Caro was upset last year when long-time Athletic Director James Cox’s contract was not renewed.
Caro suspects his straightforwardness might have caught up with him.
“I think its revenge,” Caro said. “I sent an email to [College President] Dr.[Eduardo]Padrón a year ago about [former Athletics Director] Mr. Cox’s dismissal and they didn’t like that, and now they went on to fire me.”
Caro had a stellar coaching record at MDC. He was 238-103 in five years, winning a national championship in 2010. The team won a state championship in 2011.
In 2007, 2010 and 2011, the team was the Atlantic District Champions. In 2008 and 2010 they were Conference Champions.
“They took the best thing we had and just cut it off,” said pitcher and Brazil native, Thais Nagao, who said Caro was known for opening his home up to players for Thanksgiving dinner if they didn’t have money to go home. “It’s like taking the father away from our family.”
A day after being dismissed, Caro said he attended a Lady Sharks softball game as a spectator. The game, part of the team’s fall schedule, was a double-header against Florida International University.
“Dean Owles was present at the game,” Caro said. “She saw me and told Tony [Athletic Director Anthony Fiorenza] to ask me to leave.”
Owles declined to comment on whether the incident happened.
“I told Tony ‘I’m sorry I’m at a public facility and I was just watching the game like everyone else’,” Caro said.
Toward the end of the game, Caro said the team chanted his name on the field.
“It was weird, we didn’t have our coach there,” Miller said.
Assistant coach Kathy Cabrera is currently running practices and study halls for the team.
Owles said the College is actively seeking a new head coach. The position, a part-time job, is posted online. Several candidates have already applied.
“We’re all here to support the women, and for now we have Coach Kathy and she’s wonderful,” Owles said.
Cabrera said the team will continue to strive for excellence.
“Tomorrow is always a new day,” Cabrera said. “Whatever they bring for us, we still hope for a National Championship.”