HEBRON – In a vote that reflected audience sentiment on balance, the Lakewood School Board members narrowly rejected Superintendent Jay Gault’s recommendation to hire Dave Daubenmire as Lakewood High School’s new football coach. Feb. 12.
The 3-2 vote to reject the recommendation came after extensive public comments on both sides of the issue. President Judy White and board members Trisha Good and Bill Gulick voted to reject Daubenmire and board members Forrest Cooperrider and Tim Phillips voted to accept Gault’s recommendation. Board members did not comment on their respective votes.
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 encouraging the Lakewood School Board not to hire Daubenmire. 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.”
Daubenmire, in a letter to The Beacon, commented Monday on the board’s vote.
“What took place at the Lakewood School Board meeting was nothing short of a public flogging of me because I dared to call homosexuality a sin. The lies and defamation spewed by those who are promoting their own agenda bullied three members of our local board to support homosexuality over anyone who dares speak against it. The intolerance of the supposed promoters of tolerance was appalling. Christians need not apply.”
Daubenmire continued, “Board President Judy White continually allowed lies and innuendo to be uttered against me publicly without a shred of evidence of any wrongdoing by any of those making the accusations. It is my belief that Judy White had an agenda all along and her agenda was to see me not hired as football coach. Did the citizens of Lakewood elect Judy White to promote her own agenda?
“Judy White, Bill Gulick, and Trisha Good ignored the appeals of those who volunteer in the schools, who give of their time and finances, who want nothing more than what is good for the district, and who know me personally. Their pleas were ignored and all three voted with the largest homosexual lobbying group in Ohio, Equality Ohio, whose president and her friends from outside the district have hi-jacked our local schools.
I wonder if Equality Ohio will send volunteers to sell tickets, man the concession stands, and raise funds for the athletic programs at Lakewood High School. Those who do those volunteer jobs, and spoke at the meeting in support of me, were told by our local school board to go pound sand.
“Lakewood football is 10-100 over the past 11 seasons. I offered my services to my hometown to try and build a program that we can all be proud of. The homosexual lobby said “No.” Anyone with an opposing viewpoint is not welcome in the “public” schools.
“Just as scandalous was Judy White’s willingness to watch a tax-paying member of the community drug through the mud. I am not just some guy who washed up on the banks of Buckeye Lake. My family has been an active part of this community since 1950. Mrs. White should be ashamed of herself.
“What she did was a great disservice to the Lakewood community and to my family in particular. Bill Gulick, my high school classmate, and Trisha Good are complicit in the public execution of our family name.
“Ask yourself this: would I have been treated this way if I were a Muslim, a black man, or homosexual? I’d rather be free to speak my mind than bow to the politically correct crowd. They may be able to prevent me from being coach, but they will never prevent me from speaking the truth. I am proud to go down standing up,” Daubenmire wrote.
Daubenmire formerly coached at London High School where the American Civil Liberties Union sued him in the late 1990s for allegedly mixing prayer with his coaching. After a two-year battle, the ACLU offered Daubenmire an out-of-court settlement.
Two weeks following being honored as the top Division VI Central District football coach, Daubenmire was told he would not return as Fairfield Christian Academy’s coach for 2013, citing disagreements with Fairfield Christian’s administration.
Roughly 100 people attended the Feb. 12 board meeting, which was held in the high school auditorium. Many attendees expressed opinions about Daubenmire.
“He has proven a liability to the districts he’s worked,” said Lakewood graduate Tara Houdeshell. She said the change.org petition had more than 4,600 signatures. “There’s a reason why,” she said, adding that Daubenmire has cost other districts “thousands of dollars.” Houdeshell said a football coach is one of the positions most important to young people and she said it’s important to have a coach who is not “dismissive” toward diversity. “I’d lose confidence in an administration that looks problems in the eye and ignores them,” she said. “Would he train students to have tolerance when he speaks against homosexuality.” Houdeshell said the board would create a “legacy of intolerance” were Daubenmire hired. “I expected more from you,” she said.
“Why does our board of education form committees,” said former Lakewood Athletic Boosters President Mark Nichols. He said a search committee recommended Daubenmire, adding that Lakewood football has a 10-100 record. “It’s not working out well,” said Nichols “Any vote against the best candidate for the job causes me to ask, why do we form committees? I don’t know of any coach’s record that could be better than Dave Daubenmire.”
Nichols said there’s no way to know about any other candidates’ views on diversity, because, unlike Daubenmire, they may not have public forums where they discuss those views. He said people signing the petition and speaking out against Daubenmire are “bullying the school board” into not hiring Daubenmire. “If he is not hired, they will go on to bully someone else who doesn’t agree with them,” Nichols said. “It’s time for Lakewood to do this right.”
“He teaches hate, bigotry, and racism,” said resident Mary Miller. “We cannot afford the liability.” She said Heath parents – Daubenmire once coached for Heath – said he “emotionally destroyed” their children. “He cannot be a role model or trusted,” Miller said.
“(Daubenmire) is a wonderful father and parent,” said resident TJ Lyons. He said kids have reached goals and achieved academically and athletically under his leadership. Lyons said Daubenmire is not verbally abusive toward students. “Our kids deserve David Daubenmire as their football coach,” Lyons said.
“People say winning doesn’t matter,” said Daubenmire during the board meeting. “Yes, it does. People love winners.” He said if change.org didn’t get involved, people wouldn’t have known about his videos. “My roots go deep in this community,” he said. “I can make a difference in this community.” Daubenmire said his family has had to see attacks against him from people who don’t know him.
Monday, Gault said the coaching position was reposted. “We will be doing interviews again and hope to have a candidate for the April board meeting,” he said.