Dayton schools plan big changes in sports personnel, hiring, training

Dayton Public Schools will go beyond just replacing Athletic Director Mark Baker with Shawna Welch this year, fully restructuring its athletic department with new personnel and hiring procedures.

Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said DPS plans to hire two new full-time associate athletic directors to work under Welch, and the district will eliminate the six part-time “building AD” positions that had served each high school under Baker and previous ADs.

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The new structure, created with input from Baker and others, also will create a district-level “selection committee” to choose coaches, rather than the current system of each high school principal and building AD leading the hiring of coaches for their individual schools.

“We have some schools that only have one or two applicants for each sport,” said Judy Spurlock, executive director of human resources for DPS. “We want this to be at a district level, so … the selection committee will go through all of the candidates and determine where would be the right fit for that coach for each building, so that we can have consistent coaching, and a nice applicant pool for all sports.”

The new selection committee will be made up of the district athletic director (Welch) or her designee, an associate athletic director and, as was the case in the past, a teachers union representative, as a huge number of coaches come from the district’s teaching ranks. Spurlock said DPS now has written job qualifications and a scoring rubric for its coach-hiring process. Final approval of coaching hires still resides with the school board.

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DPS spokeswoman Marsha Bonhart said the two districtwide associate ADs will handle game scheduling and rules compliance issues for all DPS schools. Each school will have a separate site coordinator assigned to open and close gyms and monitor the facility for evening sports events.

The two new associate AD positions and their salaries do not yet appear on the Dayton Area School Consortium website that DPS and other districts use for hiring. DPS’ current part-time building athletic directors make about $12,500 per year at the three high schools that include grades 7-12, and $9,500 at the three traditional 9-12 high schools. Head coaches make from $2,000 to $7,500 per year depending on the sport.

“We have to post two associate directors of athletics, and we’re prepared to do that since the board of education has given the OK on the new structure,” Lolli said.

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This news organization has asked to speak to Welch about her new role, but Bonhart said Thursday that Welch wants to focus on finishing the year as Wright Brothers Middle School Principal, calling that her responsibility.

The school board on Tuesday also will vote on two consultant contracts, approving $6,000 each for Michael Carter and James Ladd to do mentoring work with Welch and the new associate ADs. Ladd and Carter are both former coaches and administrators in the Trotwood school district, where Ladd served as athletic director before Guy Fogle.

“Their work with us will be to make sure that we are following the OHSAA rules and regulations, making sure that we are in compliance, making sure that the athletic directors are supported and know what each season brings,” Lolli told the school board this week. “Every sports season has things that are exactly the same, and certain things that are different.”

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The Ohio High School Athletic Association put all DPS schools on probation in spring 2017 because of Dunbar football’s aborted attempt to lose a 2016 game on purpose after using an ineligible player.

OHSAA extended that probation and banned Dunbar boys basketball from the 2019 state tournament this spring after Dunbar failed to enforce suspensions, used an ineligible basketball player, then sued to get back into the tournament after being banned, claiming the OHSAA was wrong.

OHSAA officials said last week that Baker’s removal as athletic director would have no bearing on the probation for Dayton Public Schools (through June 2020) or Dunbar (through 2o22). They did not immediately answer a question this week about whether DPS would regain the right to host lucrative football and track postseason events at Welcome Stadium.

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