New Castle News

Schools

December 4, 2013

Photos, Story: Runners, community turn out to support ousted Laurel coach

NEW CASTLE — Former Laurel High cross country coach Greg Schmitt has the support of his team members and their parents.

The question, however, is whether the embattled coach has the support of the school district and its board of directors.

Schmitt had the backing of a large portion of the nearly 70 people in attendance at last night’s meeting of the Laurel School Board. He was told his position was opened after allegations arose he was disloyal to the district and swore at his runners.

No action about Schmitt’s coaching position was taken during the meeting. The board went into executive session for personnel matters after the meeting adjourned.

“I love coaching here,” Schmitt said following the meeting. “I love the school district and I love the community. Does the school, the administration and this community love me enough to bring me back? The community spoke. They said ‘Yes.’ Now, does the administration, the faculty and the school district love me as much as I love working here. It’s in their hands.

“It was real nice to see my runners, former runners and parents come up to support me. I was very happy. Now I’m just really sad. These kids are going to suffer over a few people. They’re not giving the kids their coach back, the coach they want. It’s not fair.”

THE NEXT STEP

The district will accept internal applications until Dec. 13, according to coordinator of student affairs Steve Skerbetz. Skerbetz said after the meeting that he couldn’t comment further on the situation, citing school policies regarding personnel matters. Skerbetz was unsure of when the district would settle on a coach.

“To me, it was like I figured it would be,” Schmitt said. “They’ve already made their decision. They’re not going to bring me back. They already know who they want.”

Schmitt, 32, said he has been told that he will retain his position as a security guard with the district.

“That’s telling you right there that there’s nothing and there never was anything,” he said. “It’s just stuff they’re nitpicking on. If the accusations happened, why do all the kids want me back if I was that bad?”

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