BANGOR, Maine — A federal jury on Thursday found that administrators at RSU 50 did not retaliate against longtime baseball coach and athletic director Murray Putnam when his contract was not renewed in July 2012.

Putnam, 68, of Cary Plantation last year sued the district, and former Superintendents John A. Doe and Larry Malone, arguing that a hazing investigation and investigator’s report were a pretext for his being ousted from his longtime posts at Southern Aroostook Community High School.

Putnam’s attorneys, Cynthia Mehnert and Eric Mehnert, both of Bangor, claimed in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court that Putnam was fired because of his age and because he was an outspoken opponent of school consolidation.

Attorneys for RSU 50 and the superintendents argued that Putnam’s annual contract was not renewed in July 2012 because of hazing incidents on a spring baseball trip that an investigator called “dangerous and severe.”

The trial began Monday.

After hearing closing arguments Thursday, jurors deliberated for about three hours before announcing their verdict.

“By its verdict, the jury validated the actions of three dedicated educators — John Doe, Larry Malone and Jon Porter — in standing up for what is right for kids in the face of overwhelming public pressure to support a popular coach and it also sent a strong message that hazing is absolutely unacceptable in our state,” one of the district’s attorneys, Melissa Hewey of Portland, said Thursday in an email.

Efforts to reach Putnam’s attorneys were unsuccessful Thursday afternoon.

RSU 50 serves the communities of Sherman, Patten, Stacyville, Mount Chase, Moro Plantation, Hersey, Oakfield, Dyer Brook, Island Falls, Smyrna, Merrill and Crystal.

BDN writer Jen Lynds contributed to this report.