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Wed., Sept. 15, 2010, 10:06 p.m.

Longtime Legion coach dismissed

Tom Grunenfelder, longtime Lewis-Clark Twins American Legion baseball coach, has been dismissed.

Click the tab below to read a story from the Lewiston Tribune newspaper.

Tom Grunenfelder, who posted a 405-158 record during 10 years as coach of the Lewis-Clark Twins American Legion baseball program, won't return to the job next summer.

The program's executive board voted this past Wednesday to not retain Grunenfelder, confirmed Joe Hall, president of the board. Hall declined to release the voting breakdown.

"It's a personnel matter, and I don't really want to comment on a personnel matter," Hall said.

Grunenfelder said he wasn't given a reason for the move other than that the board wanted "to go in a different direction."

"I'm disappointed," Grunenfelder said. "I wish it could be different, but what they can't take away from me ... (are) the things we've accomplished in the last 10 years. And they can't take away the relationships I've built with players and assistant coach and other coaches in the state."

The Twins won four state titles during Grunenfelder's tenure and never finished with less than a .622 winning percentage.

The crowning achievement of his stint came in his first season, in 2001, when the Twins advanced to the Legion World Series for the first time in 24 years. L-C lost to Brooklawn, N.J., 5-2 in the national title game, which is the best showing in Twins history and for any Legion club from Idaho. L-C hasn't been back to the Legion Series since then.

"Tom Grunenfelder, he's done things in Idaho baseball that no coach has really done before," said Justin Miller, coach of the L-C Cubs. "Lewiston is a tough baseball town to coach in, and he set the bar really high for all of us.

"It's painful to see one of my good friends and colleagues and someone I look up to in this situation," Miller added. "But we will always remember Tom's legacy as a winning tradition."

Grunenfelder said he will be back for his 18th season as baseball coach at Lewiston High in the spring.

Grunenfelder was recently selected to coach in USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars, a weeklong event that takes place every summer at Cary, N.C. He is scheduled to be a coach for two years, then manage the third year.

"So it's kind of ironic that I'm good enough to coach the national Legion team, but I'm not good enough to coach the Legion team at Lewiston, Idaho," Grunenfelder said.

Hall said a subcommittee will plan the search for a new Twins coach. No timetable has been set for finding Grunenfelder's successor.

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Greg Lee
Greg Lee joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a prep reporter covering Eastern Washington and North Idaho schools.

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