Ironton board must hire a coach now

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ask just about anyone what they think of when you mention Ironton High School’s football program and you will likely get a short response: winning tradition.

Much of the credit for three decades of winning goes to all the talented young men who have given their all under the leadership of Bob Lutz. The coach of 33 years has created a dynasty and become a beloved figure in the community.

But now, the helm of the program remains vacant and the ship that is Ironton’s football program is starting to drift without a clear leader.

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For nearly two months, the school board and administration have debated, discussed and delayed filling this void, for a variety of reasons.

With another meeting set for 5 p.m. Thursday, now is time to act. It is fourth and one and Ironton has to run a play — regardless of who calls it.

Much of the problem has been over finding the right person for the job. We understand the need to make the best choice rather than just the easy decision. And the district has plenty of options with a dozen people showing interest.

Mark Lutz withdrew his name from the running, what appears to be more evidence that there truly is turmoil within the athletic department. The hiring committee and the superintendent seemed to be at odds over whom to hire. The board voted down both Mark Vass and Merril Triplett.

Now, many in the community are holding out hope that Bob Lutz will return. The hall of fame coach may meet with the board this week.

Regardless, the board must act Thursday. Friday night kickoff is less than six weeks away.

Lutz owes it to the students and to the community to tell the board exactly where he stands and what it will take for him to come back — if that is even an option.

Then the board must quickly decide what is best for the entire district and move forward so all of the players will know who their coach is.

If Lutz returns, that would be great. If the district has to go another direction, then the fans and the community need to rally around this individual and this team.

Instead of political division and indecision, the Ironton Fighting Tigers football must again be synonymous with winning tradition.