2014-03-22 / News

Crowd supports Daubenmire for coach

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON – Lakewood High School’s library was filled with football coach candidate Dave Daubenmire’s supporters March 12. They were there to convince three of the five Lakewood School Board members that rejecting Daubenmire’s bid to become Lakewood’s football coach was a mistake.

Last month, school board president Judy White, and members Trisha Good and Bill Gulick rejected Superintendent Jay Gault’s recommendation to hire Daubenmire following a lengthy and emotional public meeting in the Lakewood High School auditorium where dozens of people spoke for and against hiring Daubenmire. Board members Forrest Cooperrider and Tim Phillips voted to hire Daubenmire.

Daubenmire, who most recently coached at Fairfield Christian Academy, is also a minister, motivational coach, and founder of Pass the Salt, a conservative online talk radio program. Change.org, a free online petition tool, hosted a petition opposing Daubenmire’s appointment. The petition alleges that Daubenmire, in video blog posts on Pass the Salt, encourages bullying, particularly when it is directed at homosexuals. According to the petition, Daubenmire, in his own words, said, “The whole bullying idea is built around the homosexual agenda, to try to get people not to criticize or make fun of or poke fun at homosexuals.”

“I believe a public lynching took place,” Daubenmire told the board March 12, adding that he’s more upset about the way the hiring process was handled than not getting the job. He believes the board treated him unfairly. He apologized for the tone of his comments during the Feb. 12 meeting, when he spoke emotionally and defended himself aggressively following negative public comment concerning Daubenmire and his ministry’s philosophy.

However, Daubenmire said the board should’ve addressed any concerns about him privately with him during an executive session. He said he never had the opportunity to defend himself to the board ahead of the public meeting. “That’s not even good manners” not to be able to defend himself privately, said Daubenmire. He said White never asked him if Change.org’s accusations against him were true. “All the administration wanted me to be coach,” said Daubenmire. “I believe in my heart that decision was made before the meeting.”

Daubenmire said many of the comments made about him during the Feb. 12 meeting were hurtful. “I’m not some carp washed up on Buckeye Lake’s shore,” he said, adding that he only offered to build a solid football program. “What you put my family through was reprehensible. Do you understand that people have families?” Daubenmire said the board chose not to represent the community in favor of Change.org. “You decided you would vote for people you didn’t know,” he said.

Daubenmire’s daughter, Maggie, asked board members to reconsider. “I would like the board to reevaluate your decision,” she said. “You have the opportunity to change this. We all think you (made the wrong choice). It’s obvious you should change your mind. What you need to do is vote again and vote right. It’s has been very, very difficult for our family.”

Licking Township Trustee President and former Lakewood School Board member Joe Hart suggested it would be appropriate for the board to go into executive session and at least discuss if any of the members who voted against Daubenmire would be willing to change his or her vote. “It doesn’t mean you have to do it,” he said. “If you take religion out of it, (Daubenmire) is indisputably qualified.” Hart said Daubenmire’s emotional address to the board Feb. 12 was a reaction to the public criticism. “I think any of us would get upset” to go through something like that, he said.

District resident Chris Green said he believes people from outside of the district “crucified” Daubenmire for his religious beliefs during the Feb. 12 meeting.

“I’m disappointed that several outside venues were here with their own agendas,” said Green’s wife, Jenny. She said school board members allowed “skewed” media and organizations to influence their decisions. “Our football program now is not doing it for us,” said Green, who added she’s coached kids in sports. “If I was qualified, I got the job,” she said. “That’s the way it should be.”

School board members have declined comment throughout the process.

Gault said he hasn’t heard from board members regarding the situation and as of Tuesday he was not aware of any discussions to reconsider Daubenmire’s candidacy.

Regardless, Gault said the district badly needs a football coach, the open position was reposted, and the hiring committee is considering applications. “The committee is in process as we speak,” he said. Gault wasn’t certain the committee would recommend a candidate by the April board meeting, but he’d like the position filled as quickly as possible. “We need someone in here and in place as a coach,” Gault said.

Gault said he certainly never intended for Daubenmire to have to endure public criticism when the committee recommended him for the job. “We knew there was potential for that,” he said, but it’s difficult to predict such reactions. Committee members knew there would be people both for and against Daubenmire’s hire.

In other school board news:

• Donovan O’Neil, Central Ohio Regional Liaison at Auditor of State, presented Lakewood Treasurer Glenna Plaisted with the Auditor of State Award for a clean audit report. “This award is a testament to clean and accurate record keeping,” said O’Neil, adding that only five percent of Ohio school treasurers receive this award each year.

“You do a tremendous job for us,” said White.

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