New Castle News


December 3, 2013

Laurel High: Cross country coach says losing his job ‘mind-boggling’



Schmitt said school administrators also told him they took offense with the following comments Schmitt made to the New Castle News following the Tri-County Championships at Neshannock High on Oct. 5: “I’m pleased with (the Laurel girls team) winning. Shenango really brought their ‘A’ game and made us earn it. We got lucky and pulled it out. Shenango ran better than we did. We had our homecoming game last night and people didn’t rest up like they should have, but we still won. We could have done a little better. We could have had our top five in the top 10, but we didn’t. Some things didn’t go right for us. I was pretty happy with the outcome, but it could have been a little better.”

“It all started over that comment after Tri-County,” Schmitt said. “They said that comment was negative and I was bringing a bad spotlight to the school. They said I was sending the kids on an emotional roller coaster.”

Schmitt defended his comments.

“All I was saying was show sportsmanship to Shenango and that I wished we had done better,” he said. “One parent got mad and went to the school about it. I was told this one parent had 20 minutes to blast off on that comment. The school listened to that one parent.”


Schmitt already has reapplied for his old coaching position.

“As soon as they told me that they weren’t bringing me back, I turned in my application to the principal and to the superintendent,” he said. “There were two parents that witnessed me turn it in. That way they couldn’t tell other parents that I didn’t want to reapply.”

The Laurel board will hold its monthly meeting at 6:45 tonight in the high school. Several parents called The News in recent days to voice their support for Schmitt.

“Some of the parents have called me and said they want as many people there as possible to show support for me,” Schmitt said. “Almost 450 people have signed a petition to bring me back. There’s a physical copy and one on If I’m that bad of a guy, how can kids that have already graduated say ‘Bring Coach Schmitt back.’ ”

Schmitt is worried about his runners’ futures.

“What if a new coach ha a different strategy and training methods and a girl that’s running a race in 17 minutes starts to run it in 19,” he asked. “You might cost that girl a Division I scholarship.”

Schmitt led the girls cross country team to back-to-back WPIAL Class A team titles and to a fourth-place finish at the state meet this past fall. He has had 29 individuals qualify for the state meet — including a pair of WPIAL individual champions in Evan Miller and Emily Maxwell — and four state medalists.

The Spartans have earned five Tri-County crowns, two Midwestern Athletic Conference titles and a pair of section championships during his time as head coach.

“I love coaching cross country and I love coaching these kids,” Schmitt said. “I love the school district. I hope I get to come back and coach until I retire. If I don’t, it’s really sad, because I love coaching here and I won’t get to finish out my coaching career at a place that I helped build.”



Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Laurel vacancies filled

    Vacancies within the Laurel School District are being filled prior to the start of school next month.

    July 18, 2014

  • Laurel to have multi-class reunion

    A multi-class reunion celebrating the 25-year anniversary for Laurel’s classes of 1987 through 1991 is set for Sept. 13.

    July 14, 2014

  • Laurel board approves budget

    The Laurel School Board has adopted a $17.8 million budget for the 2014-15 school year. The $17,849,586 spending plan requires no tax increase. It represents a $361,496 increase over the current year’s budget.

    June 19, 2014 1 Story

  • Laurel names secondary principal

    The Laurel School Board hired Mark Frengel as secondary principal of student affairs. Frengel will receive a salary of $88,000 for the 2014-15 school year.

    June 19, 2014

  • Laurel class of ’74 planning reunion

    The 40-year anniversary reunion for Laurel’s Class of 1974 has been set for July 19.

    June 18, 2014

  • Laurel budget proposal has no tax increase

    The Laurel School Board has introduced a $17.8 million budget that requires no tax increase. The $17,849,586 spending plan for the 2014-15 school year is $361,496 higher than the current year’s.

    May 15, 2014

  • Laurel Class of ’74 to hold reunion

    Members of Laurel High School’s Class of 1974 will celebrate their 40th anniversary this summer.

    April 11, 2014

  • Laurel OKs positions

    The Laurel School Board approved the employment of three instructors for additional duties this week.

    April 9, 2014

  • Cooper.tiff Laurel hires Cooper as new football coach

    Laurel High has found its man. Brian Cooper replaces Pat Cuba at the helm of the Spartans football program. Cuba resigned last month after leading the Spartans to a 7-3 record and the program’s first playoff appearance since 2009.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • gavel.jpg Forbes appointed to Laurel board

    Blaine Forbes has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the Laurel School Board. Forbes, who previously served on the board, was approved Monday by a unanimous vote of the eight board members.

    March 25, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

Would you want to know what your pet is thinking about you?

Yes! I'd love to know what my pet is thinking.
Nah, it's probably not that interesting.
I don't know. I'm afraid of what I might find out.
     View Results