Lutz, Burcham will coach

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 2, 2000

Ironton High School might just keep its football coaches after all.

Friday, June 02, 2000

Ironton High School might just keep its football coaches after all.

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Ironton Superintendent Steve Kingery said Bob Lutz and Mike Burcham will be back coaching the Fighting Tigers football team and operating the athletic department.

Lutz and Burcham tendered their resignations last week after prolonged negotiations stalled.

The school posted the football position for five days with the period ending Thursday. Lutz and Burcham reapplied Thursday, and Kingery said the board will follow the guidelines of its resolution to rehire the two men.

"Both gentlemen have expressed a desire to be reemployed at their portions and have reapplied for their (supplemental) jobs," Kingery said.

"I’m glad they have. Bob Lutz has been head coach of the Ironton Fighting Tigers for 28 years, and I’m excited about the fact he’s going to come back and continue that tradition for the foreseeable future."

Kingery said the board will meet soon to reemploy Lutz and Burcham in their current and new positions in order for the athletic department to "function in a manner that’s extremely efficient and will produce the same results as in the past."

Lutz has been the Ironton head coach for the past 28 years, compiling a 262-52-4 record. His teams have won two state championships and have been state runners-up on six occasions. He is 282-60-5 overall, including three years at Ironton St. Joseph.

Although an independent since 1993, Ironton has won 21 league championships under Lutz and qualified for 18 postseason playoff appearances, third most in state history. Ironton’s 11 straight playoff appearances from 1985-95 is tied with Steubenville for the longest streak in state history.

Lutz is a member of the National Football Coaches Hall of Fame and Burcham is a member of the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches and Athletic Directors hall of fames as well as the University of Rio Grande Athletic Hall of Fame.

"Yes, we have reapplied, but nothing has been made official. Hopefully, something will be worked out soon," Lutz said.

Lutz and Burcham retired as teachers this year, but expressed a desire to remain in their athletic positions. Neither Lutz nor Burcham is permitted by state law to work again until Aug. 1 in order to maintain their retirement eligibility.

Kingery said the 60-day layoff will merely be a vacation before they begin working again.

"I want the community to realize we’re going to be working diligently to get the matter resolved so everyone knows Bob Lutz will be down there coaching the football team," said Kingery.

Under the proposal adopted in February, Lutz would be rehired as football coach and a summer fitness director. He would also be hired in the two new positions of physical weight training and assistant athletic director.

Burcham would be rehired as assistant football coach, athletic director, summer fitness director and football coordinator, and he would add the duties of the newly created facilities director.

"This is what’s best for the kids, the parents, the schools and the athletic department. The kids know who their coaches are, and now it’s time to get back to the order of running business as usual and put all this behind us," Burcham said.

Kingery said there is no problem with creating the new positions. However, he said salaries for the positions must be negotiated.

"I don’t see any problems getting those positions or with establishing salaries," said Kingery.

Salaries for the positions must be negotiated, but Kingery said the controversy is over and at this stage of negotiations, a resolution is only a matter of time.

"There are some logistical things to be worked out and that may take a week or two, but I don’t foresee any problem," said Kingery.