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Gay volleyball coach to keep job at South Dakota private school

A volleyball coach at St. Mary High School in Dell Rapids who has publicly announced he's gay says he's being allowed to keep his job.

Nate Alfson announced he was gay last week on the website www.outsports.com , and later said he was concerned about his future with the private Catholic school. He is believed to be the first openly gay high school coach in South Dakota.

Alfson met with school officials Tuesday and later said in an email to www.outsports.com and on his Facebook page that he will not lose his job.

"The meeting with the school went great," he said in his email. "We talked about being on the same page as each other and that they were willing to walk through this with me and support me."

Alfson did not immediately respond to an Associated Press request for comment Wednesday.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls issued a statement Tuesday night saying "all persons, whatever their attraction, are to be treated with respect, compassion and justice," the Argus Leader newspaper reported.

The statement said same-sex attraction does not disqualify someone from serving the church, though it added a clarification for cases of same-sex or opposite-sex lifestyles deemed "not chaste."

"In either of these circumstances, employment or public ministry on behalf of the Church is not appropriate," the statement said.

Alfson, 25, graduated from high school in Pipestone, Minnesota, in 2007, and went on to play baseball at Augustana College in Sioux Falls. He said he struggled with the fact that he was gay since ninth grade but finally decided he wanted to go public.