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Most Thomas Jefferson baseball players want coach back

| Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, 12:21 p.m.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | Daily News
Thomas Jefferson's head coach Kevin Gryboski congratulates Joe McHugh as he rounds third base after his 4th inning home run against Ringgold on Friday, April 5, 2013 at Thomas Jefferson field.

Most returning Thomas Jefferson High School baseball players who responded to a survey said they would like to see their former coach return this school year, according to leaders of the baseball boosters organization.

Thomas Jefferson High School baseball booster vice president Bill Coholan and treasurer Flip Benack presented school board members on Tuesday with the results of a survey completed by 32 parents who shared their thoughts on the district's baseball program, the coach and if they wanted him to return this year.

School board members in June approved opening the varsity baseball coaching position for the 2013-14 school year. Former major-league baseball player Kevin Gryboski held the position for one year.

Gryboski could not be reached for comment.

Superintendent Michael Panza said at the time that there was an issue with the coach after a game that was “to the level” that district leaders opted to open the position. Panza, who declined to comment on the opening Tuesday, other than to say that 14 people had applied for the opening, has since said that Gryboski was allowed to reapply for the position.

“I really can't talk about it,” he said, saying that it is a personnel matter.

There was an issue with the language used by the coach, both Coholan and Benack said. Gryboski was suspended and apologized for his actions, they said.

The survey distributed to families of returning varsity, junior varsity and freshman in the baseball program included questions like: “Do you feel that we should come back to the school board and recommend rehiring Kevin or bringing back Coach Gryboski?” Benack said. “There was a 70 percent vote on the survey saying that we should.”

Interviews for a new head coach will be held during the next few weeks, Panza said.

School board members on Tuesday approved a code of professional conduct that all district coaches must adhere to, effective immediately.

Leaders had discussed adopting a code of conduct last year and decided to implement it when the new superintendent came on board late last month, Panza said.

The code states that coaches “must not use profanity, gender, ethnic or racial slurs, or demeaning language or gestures of any kind toward students, fellow coaches, officials or other adults.”

Violations will be reviewed and subject to discipline and could result in termination. Coaches also will take an active role in prevention of drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse and will work to promote dignity and civility, the code states.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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