More than 300 Konawa residents signed a petition by Wednesday afternoon in support of softball coach Jennifer Matthews, who was fired suddenly Monday morning after a 15-year run at the school that included four state championships.
Organizers of the petition drive gathered 177 names at the Konawa High School softball field in less than two hours Tuesday night and another 150-plus signatures were added from other sites around this town of about 2,000.
"That's a lot of names for the size of the town, especially in one day," one Matthews supporter said.
Matthews' firing by superintendent Joe Sharber came just hours before her team was scheduled to leave for a pair of preseason scrimmages in Sulphur and just over a week before the Lady Tigers were scheduled to play their season opener.
Since taking over a struggling Konawa softball program in the fall of 1997, Matthews had won two state championships in slow-pitch (2003 and 2010) and two more in fast-pitch (2007 and 2010). Konawa's 2007 title was the first in fast-pitch for an area team in more than 50 years.
Sharber, who is entering his third year as superintendent, is on vacation this week, and no replacement for Matthews — either permanently or on an interim basis — has been named.
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