Commentary: School board proves anyone 'fair game'


Commentary: School board proves anyone 'fair game'

Here’s what kept ringing in my noggin following last week’s surreal school board meeting at Springboro High School that served as a community testimonial for ousted boys basketball coach Troy Holtrey: Who’s next?

Varsity football coach Ryan Wilhite wouldn’t go on record about that possibility. Ultra-successful girls varsity basketball coach Tom Benjamin also wouldn’t address it. They didn’t have to; I’ll do it for them.

If ‘Boro’s school board can yank the coaching credentials from someone like Holtrey – who, according to testimony that night, has heroically served the district for 21 years – anyone is fair game.

That kind of coaching uncertainty probably wasn’t the board’s intention when it let Holtrey know that his supplemental coaching contract would not be renewed. But that’s among the end results.

“I’ve always thought that as a school teacher and a coach, if you did things the right way and you did your job and you were reliable and responsible and you acted with integrity, you would be in good shape,” Benjamin said. “I don’t know what the issue is.”

Here’s one issue that board VP Kelly Kohls can immediately address: Learn the correct pronunciation of the Doliboa family. Kohls mangled both Seth, then Cain’s last name while introducing them as the next speakers to a standing-room only crowd of about 250. And both times a loud and long chorus of “boo” was directed at her.

You get a pass if you don’t know of that family’s local basketball history, but not at Springboro.

That’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of upheaval that has undermined the Springboro school district the past year. But it’s a great metaphor for just how out of touch a key board member can be with, apparently, much of the community. If nothing else, the Holtrey decision and the board’s indifference to the fallout has united residents.

And here’s the obvious connection to other communities throughout the Miami Valley: If it can happen to Springboro, it can happen anywhere.

That’s how our school board system works. We elect school board members, many of whom run unopposed. Didn’t know something like this might be in the works? A couple rounds of “boo” at a board meeting is a good start. Making your voice heard at the next election is even better.

Ridge names Tollefson

Northridge is turning to former Vandalia Butler JV/varsity assistant John Tollefson to revive its boys varsity basketball program.

Pending school board approval, Tollefson will follow Eric Glover as the Bears’ head coach. Glover resigned to replace Rick Hickman at Bethel.

Tollefson, 30, has coached almost exclusively on the AAU circuit. A Cincinnati Moeller grad, he has worked since a teen with the Cincinnati AAU programs Uptempo Magic and Yellow Jackets. He met Butler coach Jeff Kreill through a Troy training center.

Tollefson has his work cut out. Northridge has won a combined 12 games the last two seasons after going 15-7 in 2009-10. The Polar Bears haven’t won a league title since the Pollard brothers, Bob and Jim, were scoring standouts in the mid-to-late 1970’s.

“I’m very lucky,” Tollesfon said. “We’re going to change the basketball culture. I’m really looking forward for the chance to coach them.”

Bob Pollard morphed into the front man for the indie rock band Guided By Voices.

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