Simpson College cuts ties with cross country coach after allegations of inappropriate conduct


Simpsonian file photo.

by Alyssa Craven, Editor-in-Chief

On July 9 a thread of tweets was posted on Twitter by Jo Allen that placed allegations of inappropriate conduct of Simpson College’s part-time assistant cross country coach James Kirby.

The tweets contained messages from James Kirby to a mother about her 19-year-old daughter.

Simpson held an emergency meeting on July 9 after being alerted to the situation. Simpson then issued a response on July 10 in an email. 

“The college takes allegations of this nature seriously, and the college has begun an investigation,” Marsha Kelliher, president of Simpson College said in an email. “Effective this morning, the former assistant coach’s ties and interactions with the college have ended.”

In one of these messages, Kirby said “I am taking a risk here and i am counting on your discretion. Trying not to be creepy by i think the little ashley is very pretty. Likely too young but i just thought id put it out there. I am a gentleman and rely on your discretion.”

Two days later Kirby tried to apologize for what he said and that his intention was not to make the 19-year-old feel uncomfortable.

Kirby also claimed he was drinking stating in the messages, “It is an example of what drinking can do to you.”

On July 3, Kirby posted on his Facebook page that he was in recovery. On July 9, Kirby clarified that his recovery was connected to alcohol.

According to the Simpson Athletics page, Kirby became the assistant cross country coach in 2017. Before working at Simpson he served as the head girls’ cross country coach at Dowling from 2006 to 2016 and was an assistant for the track and field team at beginning in 1999. Kirby currently a priest at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Carlisle.