No longer Wayne’s athletic director, Minton wonders what’s next

Having resigned from his position as Wayne High School’s athletic director, popular varsity head football coach Jay Minton moves on to two other concerns: Will he be offered another position in the Huber Heights City Schools and will be retained as the Warriors’ football coach?

“I’d like it to be offered,” said Minton, who resigned from the AD position during a school board meeting on Thursday. “We have to see what happens.”

The board accepted his resignation during a regular session that drew more than 100 mostly Huber Heights residents, teachers, Wayne coaches, students and graduates. Immediately after a majority of the five board members voted to accept the resignation, some in the crowd angrily left, shouting disparaging comments and overturning chairs.

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The move was expected after multiple social media posts began circulating two weeks ago about Minton’s possible diminishing role in the school district.

Minton’s future employment with the district, either as an administrator, teacher or coach, was not addressed. Board president Tony Cochran, board member Mark Combs and superintendent Susan Gunnell all declined to comment.

Minton said he received an unfavorable evaluation last month that cited among other things his lack of fulfilling requirements to obtain a principal licensure. Surprised, he said that was the first time that subject was addressed in an eval.

The first alarm about his future as AD was sounded during an evaluation last year, after which he was given a one-year contract rather than the standard two-year deals for school administrators.

According to Minton’s personnel file, he was put on a performance improvement plan following the 2017-18 school year. His April eval included two of 32 subjects that received the lowest numerical grade of 5 (poor). Gunnell signed off on that eval recommending “non-renewal of AD position.”

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Minton confirmed a newly created position of physical education teacher at Weisenborn Junior High would only be offered to him if he resigned as athletic director. Instead, he proposed a plan to revamp the athletic department and remain as AD. That was rejected the next day by Gunnell.

“If that job is still offered at the junior high, then I need to make a decision,” he said. “Can I do the service that they need to have done?”

Without Minton anchored at the high school, currently no high school football coach – including all assistants – would be there during school. Minton said that’s key for a large Division I school such as Wayne that often hosts high-profile college coaches on recruiting visits.

“With not having anybody (at the high school), it just tells me (administration doesn’t) know what goes into this job,” Minton said. “Coaching is an extension of the classroom; it’s not something that’s separate. Coaches are teachers, too. They just do it in a different atmosphere and different classroom.”

The Wayne athletic department was substantially trimmed following a district-wide financial crisis seven years ago in which $13 million from its budget was cut. Minton’s possible termination also was addressed at that time as a cost-cutting measure.

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Instead, AD assistants and office personnel were restructured or trimmed and pay-to-play in excess of $400 each sport was instituted.

Minton has been Wayne’s head football coach since 1999 and its athletic director since 2006. He was awarded an administrator salary of $100,492 at this time last year for the 2018-19 school year. He also was paid $7,506 in a lump-sum supplemental coaching contract. A succeeding athletic director was not addressed by the board.

Minton has overseen the area’s most successful Division I football program during the playoff era, leading the Warriors to four state runner-ups. Other Wayne athletic programs also have flourished in that time, including a boys D-I state basketball championship in 2015.

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Gunnell, a 35-year district employee, will retire in July after serving as superintendent the last seven years. Mario Basora, the superintendent at Yellow Springs, was named in February to succeed Gunnell.

The school board began with a closed executive session at the Studebaker Middle School central office locale and drew an unusually large crowd, several of whom spoke in support of Minton, including his daughters, Ashley Guy and Tracey Cline.

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David Bernard, manager of Oldies FM 97.3, a Huber Heights radio station that carries Wayne football and boys basketball games, was among those who addressed the board. “We would not exist if it wasn’t for Jay Minton,” he said. “When I see something like this going on, it makes me angry.”

Teaching and supplemental coaching contracts are all for one year. The length of administration contracts is negotiable, often for two-three years.

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Minton thanked those who supported him.

“It’s a faith tester,” he said. “One of our coaches said one time you can’t have a testimony without a test. This is a pretty good test.”

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