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|04-09-03: Coldwater coach controversy continues to
|By TIMOTHY COX
The Daily Standard
COLDWATER - School district residents continue to want to discuss the
Coldwater High School basketball program, but board of education members clearly are not
comfortable talking about the issue in public.
Resident Janet Gels renewed complaints she made two weeks ago that
there are problems in the coaching ranks of the boys basketball program due to the
resignations of a couple of long-time assistant coaches during the past two seasons. At
Tuesday's regular school board meeting, others joined her in calling for the school board
to at least investigate their concerns.
Exactly what people are upset about remains unclear; no specific
allegations have been made.
Athletic Director Eric Goodwin told The Daily Standard for a recent
story that any turmoil within the coaching ranks is due to "differences in coaching
Gels spoke briefly Tuesday, calling on board members and administration
officials to address her concerns.
"It looks like Coldwater has a serious problem within our athletic
program," Gels said.
At one point as she was speaking, board President Jerry Meyer banged
his gavel to cut her off for identifying specific school employees. Gels reminded him that
she named no names.
"You might as well have," Meyer said before allowing her to
School board members apparently believe there is no trouble within head
coach Don Vogt's program worthy of removing the coach.
"It's unfortunate our coaches are criticized as much as they
are," Meyer said. "I'm not going to get on the bandwagon and fire someone
because they made a few mistakes that can be corrected. We're not going to respond to
complaints that don't have the support we need to take action. There is nothing here I
would fire a coach over."
Board member Floyd Winner took the same stance. "I'm not out to
get anybody's head," he said.
But resident Paul Howell said concerned citizens do not necessarily
want Vogt fired, they simply want school officials to respond to them. As for criticism of
coaches, that is an "occupational hazard of coaching," Howell said.
"These complaints have been made and nothing has been done,"
Howell said. "The administration is not dealing properly with these problems."
Superintendent Eric Hoffman said the school has dealt with the issue
internally as it does any personnel issue. Goodwin said there are complaints about every
coach on his staff and that he listens to public concerns and weighs them appropriately
when evaluating coaches.
Not everyone believes there are problems in the basketball program
Theresa Heyne said her son played for Vogt's team this past season and
had no problems with the coach.
"He loved the man," Heyne said, noting that Vogt has proven
himself to be honest and forthright with his players.
Residents critical of coaches should step back and let them do their
job, Heyne added.
Vogt attended the board meeting but did not speak. The Daily Standard
contacted him this morning, but he declined to comment on the issue.
A source within the district, speaking on condition of anonymity, told
The Daily Standard today that problems are not isolated to the basketball program and
other resignations are possible. The coaches have come under intense scrutiny and pressure
from district residents who meddle in their programs, the source said.
Hoffman acknowledged "a tremendous supplemental shortage,"
meaning the district is struggling to fill coaching vacancies. The volleyball staff
resigned recently and girls basketball coach Amy Meyer has quit, although the board has
not acted on her resignation.
"We're more than willing to look at applications," Hoffman
told a crowd of about three dozen.
Also Tuesday, Richard Baker from the Ohio Department of Education
presented the district with an award for attaining excellent status on statewide school
district report cards for the second year in a row. Five of six school districts in Mercer
County are in line to receive the award.
"You all need to be thankful you live in western Ohio because of
the way the families are - intact families with two parents," Baker said.
"It's everybody. It's the community, it's the teachers, it's the
students," Hoffman said.
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