Still no football coach

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The head football coach’s position at Ironton High School will go unfilled for at least a couple more days.

In a special meeting Tuesday evening, the board rejected two candidates by a 3-2 vote. After a nearly two-hour executive session, Superintendent Dean Nance first recommended that Merrill Triplett be hired to fill the position left vacant at the end of the school year when veteran coach Bob Lutz retired.

Board members Kathy Kratzenberg, Jerry Rowe and Bob Vaughn voted against the idea; board members Robert Pleasant Jr. and Tim Johnson voted for it. In a second move, Nance then recommended that Mark Vass be hired as head football coach. The outcome was the same.

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The board then tabled Nance’s recommendation to hire Vass as a physical education teacher. Kratzenberg said she voted against the two candidates because she had not had enough time to evaluate them.

“I would like to have tabled (measures on) both candidates,” she said. “The move was made without discussion. They put this in front of me so quickly I had no option.”

Kratzenberg said she received her notice of the special board meeting in with her packet for Thursday’s meeting and was not sure who had called it — the notice for it was not signed.

“I think Thursday would have been fine to do all this,” she said.

But Nance disagreed. He said he was disappointed by the lack of action.

“Our students, our football players deserve to have a football coach,” he said. “It’s June 13. …Obviously it is a tough decision because it impacts the children and we want what’s best for the children.”

Nance said he will check with board members to see how to progress with the head coach’s position.

About a dozen people asked to be considered for the position. An advisory board — Jerry Rowe, IHS principal Joe Rowe, Athletic Director Terry Parker, parent Rhonda Colegrove and the Rev. Ed Holmes — selected three candidates, Vass, Triplett and Mark Lutz for interviews. Lutz withdrew his name.

The meeting drew an audience of 15-20 people, many of whom said they came to see what happened with the employee vacancies. But the group was split on what they thought the board should do.

Brent McClain said he thought the board should “get rid” of Athletic Director Terry Parker.

“I was told if they did that Lutz would come back,” he said.

Former Board member John Wolfe came to the meeting while the board was in executive session and stayed briefly to talk about his thoughts on the school situation.

Wolfe said he thought many people in the community were acting on the basis of rumor and innuendo and did not really know the whole story of the coaching issue.

He said he did not blame Nance or Parker for what was happening and thought both were being maligned.

“I think they’re the focus of anger because of the way rumors are started in this town and people don’t take the time or have the time to find out what the truth is,” Wolfe said.

Nance said he and the board would have loved to have had Lutz remain as head coach, but Lutz told him in writing he was not going to seek another year in that position. With that retirement letter, he and the board were then forced to look for a replacement and try to find the most suitable one they can find.

The board meets in regular session Thursday, where the issue of coaching positions and who should fill them will likely get addition attention.