NEW CASTLE —
A lot was said, but not much was accomplished at a contentious Shenango Area School Board meeting on Monday night.
Players and parents crowded the board’s work session to voice their displeasure about last month’s abrupt firing of girls volleyball coach Kevin Hummert. Around 25 volleyball players and another 30 parents showed up to condemn the dismissal and the process in which it happened.
Hummert, who built the Lady Wildcats into a power in WPIAL Class A volleyball during his five-year tenure, was let go March 12 on an 8-1 vote by the board. Board president Albert Burick would not give specific reasons for his firing at the time and reiterated that stand Monday night.
“It’s a personnel issue, I can’t tell you the reasons,” he said. “If we discussed it in public, we could be sued by him for discussing his personal (background) in public.”
Complaints of foul language by Hummert were brought up in 2010, and he was asked to resign following the alleged verbal abuse. Parents and students came to the rescue then as their pleas to keep Hummert helped sway the board to not accept his resignation. He retained his position for the following season, but his job status changed at the March 12 board meeting and, once again, followers of the Lady Wildcats aren’t happy about it.
Parents and players made it obvious Monday night that they are livid about the loss of Hummert. The board allowed 10 people to speak (each given a five-minute limit), and no one held back.
One player said the board and administration “should be ashamed,” while another said she can “no longer trust” the school administrators. Others called the firing “utterly ridiculous” and said Hummert was let go “just because he wasn’t like (boys basketball coach Bob) McQuiston or (football coach Ryan) Mayo.”
And that was just the students.
Steve Koury, the father of volleyball players Irene and Sophia Koury, opened the debate by saying he was lied to by Burick about several issues during a phone call the day before Hummert was fired. Koury said he was told by a Laurel district resident that Hummert was to be fired, a day before Hummert actually was relieved of his duties. That prompted Koury to call Burick and, according to Koury, Burick gave him incorrect information about the basis of the meeting and Hummert’s job status, and told Koury that his presence would not be needed.
Burick later denied Koury’s recollection of the conversation.