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Bob Dunning

Bob Dunning: Tune in to ‘As the Volleyball Turns’

By From page A2 | February 18, 2014

VOLLEY THIS … wow, it used to be we gained worldwide fame from things like Village Homes and the occasional quirky decisions of the Davis City Council … but now our fame seems to stem more from such diverse negative events as pepper-spraying college students and the incessant coaching carousel at Davis High School … the City of All Things Right and Relevant has suddenly become the City of All Things Wrong and Ridiculous, with the emphasis on “ridiculous” … it’s a regular soap opera, lacking only a title, but there are some strong candidates, including “As the Volleyball Turns,” “All My Volleyballers,” “Davis of Our Lives,” “The Young and the Reckless,” “The Misguiding Light,” “One Life to Spike” and “Peterson Place.” …

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK … after spending untold thousands of public dollars to hire private attorney Alex Sperry to investigate our vicious volleyball vortex and file a 72-page “confidential report,” the district sent a summary of the report to Rob Peterson, who had filed a formal complaint after his daughter, Emma, was cut from the Davis High School volleyball team … apparently, as a complainant, Peterson has a right to some sort of response from the district, while those of us who paid for the report remain in the dark about its contents …

In a letter to Peterson outlining Sperry’s findings and conclusions, Assistant Superintendent Matt Best writes: “As you know, this investigation involves students and staff and it includes confidential information. Moreover, because of the various claims of retaliation and the desire to avoid further claims of retaliation, the district requests that all parties refrain from disclosing or discussing this letter with staff, students or members of the public.” …

Well, Peterson delivered the letter to The Davis Enterprise, perhaps because the findings and conclusions are highly critical of volleyball coach Julie Crawford … my questions to the district are these: how’s your request for confidentiality working out now? … And when are you going to let the rest of us in on the secrets you were willing to share with Rob Peterson? … we, after all, paid dearly for this 72-page report …

And finally, is every complaint to the district handled in this fashion? … if one of us in the bleacher seats files a complaint, will the district hire a high-priced attorney to file another 72-page report? … do we really have endless dollars to spend on this sort of nonsense? …

CONCLUSIVE OR INCONCLUSIVE? … in Best’s letter to Peterson outlining the “investigator’s factual conclusion,” he states that “After weighing the information provided, the undersigned finds by a preponderance of the evidence that Coach Crawford’s decision to cut Emma Peterson from the DHS girls’ volleyball program was influenced, in part, by her personal feelings about Nancy Peterson.” … two things here … first, the investigator, Sperry, cites the “preponderance” of the evidence and also reasons that Crawford cut Emma Peterson “in part” because she didn’t like Nancy Peterson … sounds more like an opinion to me than a factual conclusion …

WAIT, IT GETS EVEN STRANGER … so last Friday the district hired a new “interim” volleyball coach in the person of Auburn resident Rob Cole … seemed like a big break for Cole, who immediately set about trying to put the boys volleyball program back on an even keel … however, after serving for all of six hours in his new position, Cole was informed that the district had decided to go in another direction … speaking of the district, Cole said, “It’s obvious that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.” … I’d say the “preponderance of the evidence” supports Cole’s conclusion …

STRANGE AND STRANGER … after short-circuiting Cole’s coaching career, the district instead hired Crawford’s assistants, Ron Duer and Jordan Friend, to run the boys volleyball team on an interim basis … Duer told The Enterprise: “Jordan Friend and I are co-interim coaches until Julie gets her job back,” which puts them directly at odds with the district, which just relieved Julie Crawford of her coaching duties … a more prudent course during this rocky time might have been for the district to hire interim coaches who don’t have a dog in this fight, despite the experience that Duer and Friend bring to the table …

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

Bob Dunning

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