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Mount Pleasant: District parents seek ouster of coach

| Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2005

MOUNT PLEASANT -- District parents, unhappy with Mount Pleasant Area High School football coach Mark Lyons, presented school directors with a petition Monday asking that he be fired.

David Ansell, whose son was a sophomore on the Viking team last fall, said he circulated the petition and that all 36 names on it, except for one, are parents of football players. The sole exception is a band parent.

Ansell told the school directors that since last week's work session, when he first approached the board about ousting fourth-year coach Lyons, he has visited the homes of as many football players as possible. Those parents who signed the petition, he said, expressed concerns about the alleged "mistreatment of injured players, the loss of student interest in the football program, lack of respect and verbal abuse of players, vulgar and inappropriate language, lack of attention to JVs and all other levels, shorting the bench, lack of creativity on offense and failure to help players reach the next level."

In a letter that accompanied the petition, band parent Henry Kemp talked about "improper language" he said he heard used by the coach while the band was preparing to take the field at half-time during one game.

"While the head coach must motivate and lead his team to the best of his ability, the language that the coach used on these high school players was certainly improper for anyone, let alone a head coach," Kemp claimed in his letter.

The petitioners said a change at the head coaching position was "necessary and urgent," but if they were looking for an immediate answer, they didn't get it.

Board President Thomas Miscik told Ansell that the board would address the issue in the future, likely in the spring when coaching decisions for fall sports are normally made.

In other business, the board hired Eric Strumsky as a half-time, temporary technology education teacher.

The board approved a motion to renew the bus garage lease agreement the district has with Laidlaw Inc. for another 18 months. District business manager Amy Todd said the new agreement will expire at the same time the district's busing contract with Laidlaw expires.

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