Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008
His coaching job posted on Web site
By Margie Wuebker
MINSTER - With several teaching positions to be filled, the Minster Local Schools board of education is hoping to find qualified candidates with coaching experience in football and volleyball. The news apparently came as a surprise to the current football coach.
Head football coach Eric Belcher reportedly heard about the posting for his job from a coach in another school district. Belcher apparently contacted athletic director Rob Vajda and learned of the school board's intention to find a highly qualified teacher with football coaching experience.
Local resident Rob Albers broached the subject at a Monday night school board meeting and expressed his concern about how the board handled the posting. Less than a dozen other residents also attended the meeting, but did not speak during the community comment session.
Albers stated the whole thing has been handled extremely bad, adding "They (school officials) didn't even have the common courtesy to inform him directly prior to making the move."
He summed up the situation, saying "If you find somebody better, Eric would be eliminated. If you don't find anybody, you'll keep him around."
Heads nodded in agreement throughout the audience while board members remained quiet.
Superintendent Gayl Ray responded, "The teaching positions come first and foremost. Certainly we would consider a highly qualified teacher with coaching experience."
Belcher is not a teacher in the district and currently has a supplemental contract to coach that expires in May. Supplemental contracts typically are approved by the school board in June.
Board President Jeff Monnin, who serves as athletic council representative, told Albers and other visitors "Eric is our football coach, and we have no plans to replace him."
Albers responded, "I don't understand the reasoning and thought. You've got to be fair, concise and consistent. Rob Vajda (the superintendent's husband) indicated he was not aware the posting was to take place until the day prior to Eric finding out and going to see him."
The posting for a teacher with football coaching experience was on the Ohio High School Athletic Association Web site.
The volleyball coaching position, formerly held by Jennifer Craft, also is posted on the site and reportedly is open due to her departure several months ago.
There are seven coaches in the school system who are not teachers, according to Albers. They include girls softball, girls track, boys and girls golf, boys and girls swimming and football.
He contends these job positions have not been posted externally; rather internally or within the school district.
"The school administration can hide behind board policy, but we all know these are to be used as guidelines and exceptions can and are made every day," Albers said. "They have been making exceptions for the past 20 years with the girls head basketball coach. It is a good thing this administration and school board was not in place back then, Nann Stechschulte would not have been the head coach after her first two years on the job."
Albers described Belcher as a young man who has a passion to be a football coach and continues to improve. "If it is his 0-10 record last season, then tell the guy and don't hide behind board policy."