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Local Coaches Lose Jobs
April 18, 2013 - Al Stephenson
It happens at the professional level all the time. Coaches are fired every year in virtually every major sport. The Cavaliers and Pistons said goodbye to their the day after the regular season ended. No one was surprised. At the professional level, it's all about winning. Money is the bottom line.
On the collegiate level it is very similar with a twist of course. Major college football and basketball programs want to win (yes there is a lot of money at stake) though they sometimes pay lip service to graduating athletes. But at some schools, going 9-4 is not good enough, just ask Earle Bruce. Firing college coaches rarely raises an eyebrow either.
When high school coaches lose their jobs though, people do take notice and in some cases scratch their heads. Conversations around water coolers in Seneca County were abuzz with the news that came down in the last few days. Two highly successful coaches lost their postitions in moves that had people wondering just how these events could possibly have happened. After all, high school coaching is not, and should not be the same as the pros or college.
The first surprise came when New Riegel chose to hand over the boys varsity basketball coaching postion to current junior varsity coach Dave Losey. The incumbent was Todd Aichholz, a teacher in the Tiffin City Schools, who had led the Blue Jackets to four straight MAL titles. His record is outstanding, of that there is no doubt. On the high school level however, winning is not the only factor that schools look at in a coach. Other factors, such as players academic records, sportsmanship and the teaching of life values are important factors in determining if a coach should return.
That makes this case more puzzling. Aichholz is as well thought of in regards to those intangibles as he is for his coaching. His team this year received an award for academic excellence. They have been known for good sportsmanship and his athletes are nice young men as well as very talented athletes. So why did the change take place?
From what I have gathered through reading and talking to people, Losey wants the varsity coaching position. He has been an assistant long enough and wants the added responsibility of being a head coach. If not at New Riegel, then perhaps somewhere else. Faced with losing Losey as a teacher as well as a coach, the board of education decided to make the switch.
This was not an easy decision for the board to make and one I'm sure they wish they hadn't had to make. They have two quality coaches and if their decision was based on choosing academics over athletics, perhaps they should be lauded. There is no doubt that Todd Aichholz got a raw deal and the board probably knew that. He will likely go on to another coaching position and that will be New Riegel's loss. Here's another scenario to consider. What if Losey finds a more attractive teaching or coaching position in a year or two and bolts for the new digs. Then one would really have to question this decision.
The other coach that felt the ax was Eric Hoover, who has been an ultra successful girls volleyball coach at Mohawk. This firing caught virtually everybody by surprise. Not only was Hoover blindsided, so to were the Mohawk superintendent, principal, athletic director and most of the community.
All Hoover has done the last two years is take his team to state (2011) and the regional tournament last season. The reason for this decision has not been made clear though one board member stated that he had a problem with Hoover being late to class and putting a student in charge in his absence. It seems those mistakes happened some ten years ago, so you have to wonder if that board member is reaching a bit. If what he is suggesting is true (and recent) perhaps Hoover's teaching postion should be in jeopardy not simply his coaching position.
The other board members have not given a public reason for their vote, but rumors are running rampant that it had something to do with their own children not getting playing time. I really hope that is not the case. Board members should have one main thought in mind when faced with any decision. That would be that any decision should be made with the welfare of the majority of students in mind. That does not seem to be the case here.
Any time a school board makes a decision that comes with a 3-2 vote, it is obvious that the decision is controversial. Heck if the board members themselves can't agree, then you know many community people will not agree as well.
The view from my seat suggests that neither board action passes the smell test. Admittedly I do not know all the facts in either case. What I do know is that if the reasons given for the firings of these two coaches are true, then the boards of education made mistakes. Dave Losey should be told that he will have to wait his turn (or seek another job) because New Riegel already has a quality individual walking the sidelines. As for Eric Hoover, is it possible that three board members are right and seemingly everyone else in the school district doesn't get it.
I'm guessing not.
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