New Castle News

Sports

December 5, 2013

Our Opinion: Laurel must resolve cross-country questions

NEW CASTLE — We readily admit we have no firsthand insight into a dispute involving Laurel High School’s cross-country coach.

But we do know these controversies have consequences, and we think Laurel officials need to take some positive steps in order to minimize them.

At issue is a decision by the Laurel school board to open the position of cross-country coach Greg Schmitt. This comes despite the fact Laurel’s girls cross-country team has captured the last two WPIAL championships.

So one presumes the move to seek applicants for the position has nothing to do with Schmitt’s coaching skills. But Laurel officials aren’t explaining their rationale, understandably citing personnel considerations in the matter.

However, Schmitt has talked to the New Castle News. And he claims the decision stems from comments he had made to this newspaper after a meet that Laurel officials supposedly decried as negative toward the district. He also said a parent had complained that Schmitt had used profanity in front of students during a bus trip following a meet.

From what we see, the comments cited by Schmitt hardly qualify as a reason to get rid of a coach. As for allegations of swearing, cross-country team members who showed up at Tuesday night’s Laurel school board meeting in support of Schmitt denied any such incident took place.

If there were other problems with Schmitt within the district, we don’t know what those are.

So what we have is a school district working to remove a successful coach, who appears to have widespread support from team members and their parents. The justification for Schmitt’s removal effectively stands as a puzzle.

And it’s a puzzle that has the potential to damage morale at Laurel. Student athletes confused by the situation are bound to wonder about the decision-making process within the school system. And other coaches may receive the message that they are walking on eggshells, with support potentially withdrawn from them for flimsy reasons.

None of that is helpful. And we think Laurel officials must take some meaningful steps to resolve it.

First, they need to review the decision-making process to date. If the move to oust Schmitt was based primarily on now-disputed allegations about swearing, that ought to be grounds to revisit the decision.

Plus, it also should serve as a warning about jumping to conclusions. Was the complaint against Schmitt properly investigated? Was the evidence reviewed?

By making his dissatisfaction with Laurel’s decision public, Schmitt has basically waived any privacy rights. This creates the opportunity for Laurel to clear the air.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Polanco.jpg Harrison’s four hits leads Pirates past Rockies, 7-5

    Josh Harrison had four hits, including a tiebreaking homer, to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5 on Sunday. Gregory Polanco and Travis Snider also went deep for the Pirates, who avoided being swept in Colorado for the second straight season.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates Rockies Baseb_Fusc.jpg Anderson leads Rockies over Pirates 8-1

    Brett Anderson pitched effectively into the seventh inning for his first win in more than a year and the Colorado Rockies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-1 on Friday night.

     

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • MANGINO.jpg Mangino finding new home at Iowa State

     The first time Iowa State defensive end Cory Morrissey saw Mark Mangino, the former Kansas coach and current ISU offensive coordinator stopped him in his tracks.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates.jpg Pirates jump on Haren early, top Dodgers 6-1

    Josh Harrison had two hits with two RBIs and the Pittsburgh Pirates jumped on Dan Haren early in a 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Aloi.jpg Aloi's PIAA eligibility hearing postponed

    The wait continues for Nick Aloi. Aloi, who transferred from Ellwood City Lincoln High to Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School on Jan. 21, still does not know if he will get to play a full season for the Leopards’ basketball team

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates.jpg Polanco, Walker lift Pirates over Dodgers 12-7

    Gregory Polanco broke out of a slump with a solo home run and a tiebreaking two-run single, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 12-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ManzielJersey.jpg Manziel scores as NFL’s top-selling jersey

    Second on Cleveland’s depth chart, Johnny Manziel already tops one NFL list.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Huston.jpg Greg Huston: Pedro, Steelers' Training Camp and LeBron

    Pedro Alvarez’s throwing woes have not subsided after the All-Star break and he has become a defensive liability, especially late in games.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates.jpg Pirates beat Rockies 5-3 for 3-game sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsbur‘gh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies. Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NC_Hoops.jpg Former Lady 'Canes stars reunite for tour of Europe

    Ryenn Micaletti and Abby Allen are headed to Europe. Micaletti and Allen — both members of the 2007 WPIAL Class AAAA girls basketball championship team — have joined forces with News Release Basketball to spend nearly three weeks in Germany and Belgium later this summer playing basketball and helping run clinics.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

Shoot For 2
House Ads
Photo of the Day