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|03-27-03: Basketball coaching issues up in air
|By TIMOTHY COX
The Daily Standard
COLDWATER - Residents are starting to talk but Coldwater Exempted
Village Schools officials are staying relatively quiet about alleged dissension in the
ranks of the high school boys basketball program.
Resident Janet Gels, 507 N. Second St., brought the issue up at
Tuesday's school board meeting, reading from a prepared statement. In the statement, Gels
laments the resignations of some basketball assistant coaches both this season and a year
"We feel we have a real problem. How could it have happened that
we lose three coaches in two years? Two of those coaches are hometown guys who love the
sport, love to coach and love the kids," Gels said.
Gels' statement goes on to suggest that head coach Don Vogt is
responsible for the dissension in the coaching ranks. Gels said she was representing a
number of people who, for various reasons, did not want to speak at the school board
meeting. She promised to return to the next meeting "with lots of supporters."
The two "hometown" coaches Gels was speaking of are Jerry
Kanney and Nick Fisher. Kanney resigned a year ago; Fisher resigned after the recently
completed basketball season. Both were assistants under Vogt.
Vogt, a special education teacher, has been with the district for two
"Last year, when Jerry Kanney resigned, red flags should have gone
up," Gels said. "When Nick Fisher resigned, bells and whistles should have gone
Coldwater administration officials are avoiding talking about the
issue, saying Gels did not follow the proper procedure for making her complaints. Under
the negotiated contract with the Coldwater Teacher's Organiza-tion, employee complaints
must first be brought to the employee or to the employee's supervisor, Superintendent Eric
Hoffman told The Daily Standard.
"We have a complaint process. We have communications channels in
place to deal with these type of things," Hoffman said.
Hoffman said he spent this morning "asking questions," but
would not say specifically how he is dealing with the situation. When asked if there have
been concerns raised about the basketball program by people other than Gels, he replied,
"There's always concerns with any program no matter what."
Hoffman said he would see if the parties involved in the issue want to
set up a meeting to discuss their concerns.
Fisher's recent resignation letter sheds no light on the situation and
gives no specific reason for his departure. Hoffman said Fisher has privately divulged his
reasons for leaving, but the superintendent would not disclose them.
Athletic Director Eric Goodwin said he has spoken with Vogt and the
former assistant coaches. Goodwin termed any turmoil within the program as
"differences in coaching philosophy."
"It's something we're going to continue to look at," Goodwin
said, but would not offer specifics.
Gels and her supporters claim the trouble has decreased participation
in boys basketball. Her statement says the varsity squad had only eight players while
about 60 boys played Catholic Youth Organization basketball this past season.
"Our program is crumbling before our eyes," Gels said.
No decision on Vogt's future as basketball coach has been made, Goodwin
said. Typically, Goodwin said he waits until after a team's after-season banquet to
"I haven't done his evaluation yet so I don't know," Goodwin
responded when pressed about Vogt's future.
Goodwin also downplayed any suggestion that the problems in the
coaching ranks are related to the team's early exit from the post season tournament. The
team was 15-5 during the regular season but lost its last regular season and the sectional
tournament opening round game both to Lima Central Catholic to end the Cavaliers' season.
Gels also said the issue is not about wins and losses.
"Ask the players, they were frustrated all season. They were glad
the season ended," she said in her statement.
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