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College softball: Suspended Plachta plays waiting game at UWS

Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com UW-Superior head softball coach Roger Plachta talks to (30) during the Yellowjackets game with North Central in Superior in May.

Suspended Wisconsin-Superior softball and women's golf coach Roger Plachta was getting tired of waiting for information about the complaint filed against him.

Plachta finally got what he was looking for on Friday, a letter from UWS Chancellor Renee Wachter. But he still has more questions than answers.

In the letter dated May 12, Wachter wrote that she had received allegations against Plachta "for both recent and ongoing concerns from the University administration and outside individuals in regard to your behavior toward others in the workplace and the propriety of your use of University funds in connection with purchasing and travel arrangements."

Wachter added the allegations were "substantial in nature," and if there was sufficient evidence to support them, he would be dismissed.

Plachta, the school's all-time winningest softball coach, has been in limbo since being suspended May 8. UWS directed questions about the investigation to Gigi Koenig, vice chancellor of administration and finance, who said the university had no comment at that time.

Plachta provided a copy of Wachter's letter to the News Tribune to shed light on the investigation as to why his job is in jeopardy and why it has taken this long to get answers.

"I get 50 calls a day about this," Plachta said. "I've been waiting for the paperwork for almost two weeks."

Plachta, 61, didn't want to comment on the behavioral issues because he didn't know what they were. He previously acknowledged to being asked by administration officials to tone down his yelling and swearing, only for his team to tell the gruff but beloved coach not to change a thing. He said he hasn't done anything differently in his 34 years as a college and high school coach.

"I never changed," Plachta said. "I stayed the same, because that's what the team wanted me to do."

Plachta went to campus Friday to finish overdue paperwork but wasn't able to log on because his username and password no longer worked. He planned on finishing paperwork the Monday he was suspended but instead was escorted off the premises.

Coaches are advanced money by the school for meals while they are on the road for tournaments and have to account for the money later on, including receipts. Plachta, who has been head softball coach at UWS the past 17 seasons, didn't have an assistant coach for the first time this spring and wasn't able to catch up, he said.

"Every coach up there is late on their paperwork," Plachta said. "I'm coaching two sports plus recruiting, so I figured I'd just do the paperwork at the end."

Plachta, a lifelong Superior resident, began to wonder Friday if he should even be on campus, given his suspension, so he left. He said he received a call from Koenig to return, allowing him to complete some of the paperwork. He plans to finish it Monday. While on campus, Plachta said Koenig provided him a copy of Wachter's letter.

Meanwhile, a petition for Plachta at signandshare.org was up to more than 750 supporters as of Friday night.

Plachta said he expects to meet with administration officials next week to explain his side of any complaints.

"I was told they would meet with me when the investigation is over," Plachta said. "It almost feels like I'm fired already."

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