FLC paper: Aalands seeking legal advice

Chris Aaland

By Ryan Owens Herald staff writer

Fort Lewis College athletic director Gary Hunter told The Indy Online, the online edition of FLC’s biweekly student publication, The Independent, that Chris and Shelly Aaland are working with an attorney about their dismissals on Wednesday.

Chris Aaland, most recently the school’s assistant director of athletics for communications, was fired after 22 years of working for FLC in various capacities. His wife, Shelly Aaland, was the head coach of the Fort Lewis volleyball team for 10 years after stints as a player and assistant coach.

In a phone call from The Durango Herald on Thursday, Hunter declined to comment about the Indy story or about the situation regarding the Aalands.

Chris and Shelly Aaland were unable to be reached Thursday afternoon. President Dene Kay Thomas could not be reached at her office.

Fort Lewis public affairs officer Mitch Davis declined additional comment about the situation on behalf of the college.

The FLC volleyball team issued a statement by email Thursday evening to the Herald about the situation.

“We as a team are excited for our 2013 season,” the email, sent by player Jenna Kinzer, said. “We are working hard to get better every day. We trust that our administration is guiding us in the right direction and that they will find the most qualified coach that they can to strengthen our program and the volleyball community.”

News of Shelly Aaland’s pending dismissal broke Monday, with official word of both dismissals coming from Davis on Wednesday.

“I can confirm that both Shelly and Chris are no longer with Fort Lewis College,” Davis said Wednesday. “Since it’s a personnel situation, I can’t comment much beyond that. ... They were both let go.”

During her 10 years of coaching, Aaland’s teams posted an overall record of 129-148 and 89-99 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The team went 11-16 overall last year and 7-12 in the RMAC for a fourth-place conference finish.

Chris Aaland graduated from FLC in 1991. During his more than two decades working there, he served as sports information director from 1992 to 2001, as director of communications and publications from September 2001 to February 2006 and as the college’s director of alumni relations from March 2006 to August 2010.

rowens@durangoherald.com

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