They came for answers. There were none. Instead, an overflow crowd of Troy Holtrey backers shook their heads in disbelief and let their representatives plead with the Springboro school board to rehire a beloved boys high school basketball coach.
Former players, parents, fellow area coaches and teachers throughout the district jammed a special school board session that was open to the public Tuesday night. It was a time for questions about Holtrey’s coaching fate, but the board wasn’t answering.
Eleven predetermined speakers wanted to know why the board informed Holtrey, Boro’s ultra-successful varsity coach the last 21 seasons, that his coaching contract would not be renewed. The only thing the board addressed was a two-minute speaking limit.
“As a preacher, it kills me to go just two minutes,” said Charlie McMahan, who broke mounting tension with that zinger. Like everyone else who spoke, the former Holtrey assistant urged the board to reconsider. Holtrey was told last week that he would not be renewed as coach but that he can reapply.
The Doliboa brothers, first Cain then Seth, each made passionate pleas to the four-member board, which was missing only president Scott Anderson.
Chip James, another former Holtrey player, drew a drawn-out applause after admonishing the board. “To let him leave would be an absolute travesty,” he said.
For now, that’s the board’s plan. It’s not typical protocol for any high-profile and veteran coach like Holtrey, but it’s within the board’s call. And it is under no obligation to provide insight to their decision making.
“It’s what he does off the court for kids and for people that makes you scratch your head at this and makes you think, what’s going on?” said former Springboro football coach Rodney Roberts, now at nearby Franklin.
Holtrey did not attend the meeting and was unavailable for comment.
Also on Tuesday, Springboro treasurer Tracy Jarvis said a “special audit” was being run by the Ohio State Auditors Office in regards to summer camps run by school-district coaches. Police chief Jeff Kruithoff was emphatic that Holtrey was not a person of interest about that by his or the state’s office.
Finally, today begins a long period of non-contact between basketball coaches and players that runs through October. Also, school begins in a couple weeks. Unless someone already is in the school district, finding another varsity coach at this late date will be a major task.
Beavercreek boys coach John Ahrns perfectly summarized the growing crowd frustration.
“If he deserves to be let go,” Ahrns said, “I deserve to be executed.”