PARKERSBURG - Parkersburg South still has no head wrestling coach.
With approximately 100 persons jammed into the Wood County Schools office Tuesday night, members of the Wood County Board of Education met to consider the recommendation of Parkersburg South administrators that science teacher Donna Dixon become the head coach of the Patriots.
After listening to comments from 10 members of the public, board member Tim Yeater made the motion to consider the appointment, but none of the other four board members -Jim Fox, John Marlow, Lawrence Hasbargen or Tad Wilson -would second the motion, thus it died without a vote being taken.
Photos by Jeff Baughan
Donna Dixon watches and listens to the public comment portion of the Wood County Board of Education meeting Monday. Dixon had been recommended to be the new Parkersburg South wrestling coach but the nomination died without a second.
Following that scenario, board members used the opportunity to assail South administrators.
"I am disappointed in the administration of Parkersburg South High School,'' said Wilson, who cited a "total lack of transparency'' in the hiring process.
Fox used even stronger language, calling the process "usurping state law.''
He specifically addressed South Principal Tom Eschbacher, who attended the meeting, and reminded him when he recommended Rick Leach over Roger Thompson for the athletic director's post that Eschbacher had cited qualifications.
"I'm not happy with the way this went tonight,'' said Fox.
South administrators had recommended Dixon because she had indicated she would keep intact the group of assistant coaches who had guided the Patriots to four consecutive Class AAA state championships.
Among the applicants who were not recommended was former South coach Dan Clevenger, who addressed the board, as did a number of his supporters.
Clevenger said when Paul Jackson was hired over him in 2006, he was told he wasn't the most qualified person for the job and that the most qualified person was hired.
"I don't know why that isn't being followed in 2012,'' he said. "I'm qualified to be the coach at Parkersburg South. I was the coach at Parkersburg South. I will do a good job.''
Clevenger said he never committed to hiring the existing assistant coaches, but that he was interested "in retaining some.''
Others who spoke on Clevenger's behalf included his wife, Pam Clevenger, along with Doug Clevenger, Phil Clevenger, Mike Smedley, Terry Collins and Kevin Cochran.
South state champion wrestler Lance Hill, who will be a senior this year, was one of the last to address the board and said, "all the wrestlers at South stand behind Donna Dixon.'' Hill told the board members the wrestlers need more than a head coach, they also need a strong group of assistant coaches. One of those assistant coaches, Dean Moore, urged the board to follow the recommendation.
"This is a trust issue,'' he said. "You put your trust in the athletic director and the principal. There have been interviews. There is a recommendation. I strongly suggest you follow the administration.''
Dixon was in the audience but did not speak at the meeting.