Lakewood to get new football coach recommendation
HEBRON – Following a firestorm of controversy surrounding Lakewood’s first candidate for a new head football coach, the district’s search committee will recommend Marysville High School JV head coach Craig Conley for the position.
Lakewood School Board members were to make the final decision whether to accept the recommendation and hire him during the April 9 board meeting. If hired, Conley would also serve as a Lakewood High School social studies teacher.
Lakewood Superintendent Jay Gault said the committee chose Conley from roughly 25 applicants for the position during a second round of interviews. Conley’s father, Bill, is Ohio Dominican University’s head football coach and former assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for The Ohio State University. Conley did not apply for the first round of interviews.
Problems for the school board began when the search committee first recommended seasoned coach and Lakewood alumni Dave Daubenmire for the position. He is also a minister, motivational coach, and founder of Pass the Salt, a conservative online talk radio program.
In February, school board president Judy White, and members Trisha Good and Bill Gulick rejected the 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.
Following that vote, the football coach position was reposted and another round of interviews began.
Daubenmire most recently coached at Fairfield Christian Academy. Change.org, a free online petition tool, hosted a petition opposing Daubenmire’s appointment to Lakewood. The petition alleged that Daubenmire, in video blog posts on Pass the Salt, encourages bullying, particularly when it is directed at homosexuals.
Dozens of Daubenmire’s supporters attended the March board meeting, urging White, Good, and Gulick to reconsider. Daubenmire told board members he believed he was treated unfairly during the board’s deliberation and described the February meeting’s tensionfilled public comment period as a “public lynching.” However, the search committee did not recommend Daubenmire following the second round of interviews.
“I believe at the March board meeting (board) President Judy White was asked by a member of the community if I was still a candidate for the job,” said Daubenmire Wednesday. “At that time she said that ‘all candidates would be considered.’ I was not interviewed in the latest search. It is time for the community to rally behind Coach Conley and help him give the kids the program they deserve.”
Gault said roughly 42 candidates were considered in the first round of interviews.