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Round 2 has begun

February 28, 2011
By MIKE MATHISON, Sports editor

Round 2 of naming a new football coach at Weir High has begun.

And, as usual, the West Virginia State Board of Education is no help.

At all.

Nowhere in its charter, or decree, or statement, does it say that the best qualified candidate should be hired to be the coach.

Nowhere does it say that.

Nowhere.

At all.

It's mission says: "The West Virginia Board of Education establishes policies and rules to assure implementation of education goals and to ensure the general supervision, oversight and monitoring of a thorough and efficient educational system."

Its vision says: "All West Virginia students will exceed national educational standards and prepare for higher learning and the world of work through the programs, services and offerings of West Virginia's thorough, efficient, safe and nurturing education system."

You see, if 10 candidates apply for the job, but only three have a West Virginia teaching license, then the powers that be really can only interview the three, regardless of qualifications.

One of the seven might be a two-time state championship coach in another state who is looking to make a move, but, sorry, sir, you are not qualified to get the job because you do not have this piece of paper.

So, sir, sorry if you have gone something stupid like, 93-8 over the last nine years, but you just won't do.

At all.

The Hancock County Board of Education went through this process a few years ago when it hired Eric Meek to follow Tony Filberto and eventually had to write a $15,000 check to Mike Orlando, who filed a grievance because, according to those rules, he should have been given the job.

Orlando was the only HCBE to apply for the position of seven applicants after it was posted in December 2004. Meek was given the job and his application for a West Virginia teaching certification, filed on Jan. 20, 2005, was approved.

"In this case, grievant argues that because Mr. Meeks did not have West Virginia certification, and was not an employee, he was entitled to the position under the provisions of HCBE Policy GCA, which states in part:

All coaching positions will be approved in the following order:

a. Professional employees (including substitutes) with valid West Virginia Teaching Certificates

b. Non-board employee with valid West Virginia Teaching Certificate

c. All other applicants based on qualifications.

"HCBE asserts that it hired the most qualified applicant, and relied upon advice of counsel that only certification, not West Virginia certification, was all that was required by statute. That statute, W. Va. Code 18A-3-2a(4) states, in part: Within the category of other certificates and permits, the state superintendent may issue certificates for persons to serve in the public schools as athletic coaches or other extracurricular activities coaches whose duties may include the supervision of students, subject to the following limitations: ... (B) a currently employed certified professional educator has not applied for the position.

"The appointment of Mr. Meeks was improper under both HCBE Policy and W. Va. Code 18A-3-2a, because a current employee applied for the position. Mr. Meeks was never employed by HCBE as a teacher. Although Mr. Meeks appears to have been the more qualified applicant, as a currently-employed, full-time educator, Grievant was entitled to the position. HCBE acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner when it failed to fill the position of head coach with a currently employed professional applicant."

The Hancock County BOE will never put itself in the position again to write another check.

You see, one of the guys who turned down the Red Riders job, Scott Holt, would have been a good fit for the job and is a teacher in the state, currently holding a position at Cameron High School.

But, he cannot be guaranteed a teaching job at Weir High, even though one is going to open at the school in his field, because, basically, there are others within the county who will be ahead of him for the job.

The Hancock County BOE should have hired Holt and given him the teaching position in his field that will become open.

But, they didn't.

Why?

A grievance would have been filed and the BOE would have lost because other county teachers would be first in line to fill that position.

Contrary to what many people think, there is nothing wrong with hiring a football coach and handing him a teaching position.

At all.

Why is that a bad thing?

It's not and here's why.

The coach will step on campus and perform three jobs at the school - teacher, coach and weightroom instructor.

The coach who comes into Weir High has to build the program, starting with the junior high.

The coach must also go door-to-door to get the high school kids out as 29 is not enough to have a viable varsity program and a junior varsity program to help kids get playing time, learn and get better.

You cannot continually throw freshmen and sophomores to the wolves on Friday nights.

Those kids need to play on Thursdays or Saturday afternoons.

This coach needs to spend hours and hours in the weightroom, classroom, football field, boosters meetings and film room, just to name a few places in order to get the program on the upswing.

And, that won't happen overnight.

That, folks, takes a few years.

That's why it is OK to hurdle some teachers into the classroom. You may not like the reasoning, but you don't have to.

You see, the teacher who will get that position will not sit in a meeting each week with the athletic boosters, push kids to the point where they think they are going to quit, or go scout the next opponent on Saturday night after a Friday night game.

The football coach helps fill the stands.

The football coach helps fill the coffers.

Period.

Any coach within the state who does not have that piece of paper can be ousted at any time and that is not a good thing, either. It has happened at a lot of schools throughout the state and will continue to do so.

If the sixth-grade math teacher wants to be the next coach in a certain sport and that coach is an off-campus coach, that off-campus coach will no longer be in the program.

Bye, bye.

That's not healthy for any sports program.

Folks, I am a big fan of teachers.

They deal with 30 kids in a class, not all of whom really want to be there.

They are dealing with the same attitudes you are dealing with at home, and sometimes worse.

They are dealing with your kids, whom you don't even like at times.

They are dealing with Blutarski with an attitude.

They are dealing with kids who think that thing from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. is something they have to do before hanging out on the streets or in the malls.

I know not all kids are like that.

Kids are punks because they are allowed to get away with it.

Kids are not punks because they are not allowed to get away with it.

I am not here to kick teachers out of the classroom.

Personally, I think teachers should kick kids out of the classrooms more often.

There is nothing wrong with a figurative size 9 on someone's backside.

Oh yeah, the political correctness police do not like that.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com)

 
 

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