Friday, April 18, 2014

DHS déjà vu: Crawford told she is out as boys volleyball coach

From page B1 | February 11, 2014 | 52 Comments


Julie Crawford, the boys and girls volleyball coach at DHS for each of the past three seasons, was informed last week that she would not be asked back to coach the Blue Devil boys, who start their season in less than a month. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise file photo

For the second time in less than a year, Julie Crawford has been told by Davis High administrators that a Blue Devil volleyball team is no longer hers to coach.

The leader of the girls and boys programs for each of the past three seasons, Crawford coached the girls team this fall only after a school board vote in July to rehire her. That vote came nearly a month after she was told by DHS athletic director Dennis Foster that her variable services agreement would not be renewed.

Crawford’s VSA as boys coach was set to be renewed in January, but it never went to the school board for a vote.  (Every other Devil spring coach was confirmed, along with new head football coach John Wiley, at a Jan. 23 school board meeting).

Tryouts were to begin this week.

Crawford said she was told that Davis High Principal Will Brown and Foster signed her VSA and that “it was pulled at the district level prior to the (Jan. 23) board meeting.”

Meanwhile, Davis school board president Gina Daleiden confirmed that “the board has not been briefed on this matter. We expect to receive information from the superintendent at the Feb. 20th meeting. At this point, this is all coming from the administration.”

Daleiden added that because this is a personnel matter, it would have to be discussed in a closed session — and that had not happened.

If the VSA truly was held up at the district level, The Enterprise could not find out by whom or why. Foster and Brown told The Enterprise on Monday that they could not comment on personnel issues, while an email to Davis schools personnel chief Matt Best and a call to Superintendent Winfred Roberson were not returned by midnight Monday.

Crawford wasn’t alerted until last Wednesday, less than a week before tryouts were set to begin on Monday, that she was not going to be asked back as boys coach.

“I was first told last Wednesday … by Will Brown, that I would not be coaching boys volleyball this season,” Crawford explained. “Since I have been the coach for the past three seasons, I just have taken on that role year-round, so yes, I was ready to go for Monday tryouts.

“I held two months of open gyms prior to the season … and the interest in the program was so great that I knew I would have enough boys to finally have varsity and JV teams. There are both JV and varsity schedules set in place and DHS is set to host an eight-team preseason jamboree (Feb. 25).”

Crawford added that when she realized there would be enough players for JV and varsity teams for the first time, she got approval from Foster — more than a month ago — to coach both squads.

But instead, a recent letter from Brown informed the families of boys volleyball players that “we have yet to identify a coaching staff for the 2014 season. As a result, we have posted these coaching positions and will be reviewing applications as they arrive.

“In the meantime,” the letter went on, “practices will be canceled until a coaching staff is identified.”

Blue Devil players and their families were shocked at the decision and the fact that it came less than a month before the scheduled opener, Feb. 28 at Pleasant Valley.

“I was initially dismayed because I couldn’t believe that (Crawford) was ‘fired’ once again,” said returning DHS junior Richard Lu, who has played volleyball for Crawford for three years. “She even conducted open gyms with us so I was positive she would remain as head coach. And of course, I was upset because the process of rehiring a coach will delay our season.”

Evan Meerscheidt, another returning junior, added, “I think it is ridiculous. Other (spring Devil) teams are starting tryouts and practice, while we are sitting here with our season up in the air.”

For her part, Crawford hopes something can be done to get her reinstated, as was the case last summer. At the school board meeting following her VSA as girls coach not being renewed, a group of supporters spoke out for Crawford and the trustees voted 3-1 to rehire her. Board members Sheila Allen, Susan Lovenburg and Daleiden voted in favor and Nancy Peterson dissented.

Trustee Tim Taylor, who participated in most of the discussion via conference call, was not on the line and did not vote.

“I am very disappointed and I just want to coach the kids,” Crawford said Monday. “I plan to continue to fight because I have done nothing wrong. My reputation is on the line. I love coaching and I love coaching DHS volleyball.

“These kids — both boys and girls programs — are worth the fight.”

Crawford, the 2012 Delta Valley Conference girls Coach of the Year when her team reached the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, took the Blue Devil girls back to the playoffs last November.

As the boys mentor, she earned the 2011 DVC Coach of the Year and followed that up by taking DHS to the postseason in 2012 and 2013.

In addition, Crawford made copies of all of her varsity coaching evaluations through spring 2013 available to The Enterprise and the athletic director had nothing but good things to say in those reports. She also added that she “received yet another positive coaching evaluation from the principal and the AD after this past girls season.”

And her players, it seems, would not be surprised to hear that.

“I like how (Crawford) is patient with the players because most of the (players on the 2013 boys squad) had never played the sport before,” Lu said. “(Crawford) is also incredibly cordial. I can speak on behalf of the players that we never felt uncomfortable. Our practices always had an encouraging and friendly atmosphere.”

Notes: Crawford is a full-time physical education teacher at DHS. She has been coaching volleyball in the area, mostly in the Blue Devil program, for the past eight years. … Daleiden said “Generally speaking, and this is something you’ve heard publicly at board meetings, we would like decisions made when it isn’t just before the start of the season. The timing is obviously not optimal, but like I said, we haven’t been briefed.” She added that “An item that is in front of the board, but has not yet been resolved, is that we are asking (Best) to look into some of the practices and policies with athletics. One of the things (Best) has been looking at is having coaches’ VSAs go for the whole year instead of just the season because we are seeing coaches working with kids year-round. (Changing) the VSA to a whole year would address the problem of timing, if a coach’s VSA isn’t renewed it wouldn’t happen right before the start of the season.”

— Reach Chris Saur at or 530-747-8049. Thomas Oide contributed to this article.


Discussion | 52 comments

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  • Fred HarveyFebruary 11, 2014 - 1:00 am

    So what is the REAL reason that she is being bounced?

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  • Concerned citizenFebruary 11, 2014 - 5:32 am

    Julie is a great coach and person and does not deserve this treatment.

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  • DHS parentFebruary 11, 2014 - 5:51 am

    They are calling it a personnel matter, it's really a personal matter. The reason Julie Crawford lost her coaching job is because Nancy Peterson, a Davis School Board member, has had a personal vendetta against her the past 2 years. She has had 2 kids in the volleyball program and has been trying to replace her with a different coach from a club team. It's obvious that she has gotten the administration to do her dirty work for her. This is wrong.

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  • Another Volleyball ParentFebruary 11, 2014 - 7:57 am

    Perhaps members of the School Board need to be made aware of the district's policy on bullying. This would not be tolerated on the playground and should not be tolerated at the district level.

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  • Volleyball parentFebruary 11, 2014 - 6:31 pm

    CCE has sign on every classroom door : "No bulling here". Maybe they can spare some signs for board member offices .

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  • JoshFebruary 11, 2014 - 9:09 pm

    Sounds to me like someone needs to be fired up on the top of the food chain. I have been around Davis sports my whole life, been through the sport programs myself. It's all political, which drived me away from sports in the long run. I realized that coaches can be great coaches but that won't change anything with the folks with higher authority. Someone needs to be fired. Or kids won't have fun playing sports anymore, one of the best things kids can do at a young age for their health, experiences and learning team work. Sounds like the board can't see the big picture firing away every good coach they have seen. I'm sorry to see Davis sports deteriorating!

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  • concerned parent and educatorFebruary 11, 2014 - 7:37 am

    I have to wonder if the principal has given a good review (when this was in question with the AD prior times) and has signed her VSA then where is the issue. It seems that the people who work with this person face to face everyday feel she is up to par .....why would someone(s) at a higher level who does not work with her face to face daily would make this choice. So the first time it was the ADs fault and now the principals fault. I smell scapegoat. Just saying...

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  • Fred HarveyFebruary 11, 2014 - 8:11 am

    I think that your smeller is working perfectly!

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  • Bob SimonsFebruary 11, 2014 - 4:49 pm

    The problem here is that the public is now focused on the school and district administration. There are 30 kids at least ready to attend a tryout and play in a demanding sport against other schools. During competitions, some are noticed by colleges and universities. Some play very little depending on their ability level and that of the competition. On the varsity level, the goal is to WIN. In order to consistently win, practice with a competent coach is necessary. This coach has proven her competency with league results and with being named coach of the year on more than one occasion. All board members and administrators need to focus on the probable team members. Family issues and personal feelings on their part relating to the coach and the team need to be put aside. Let's get this issue over and gone for good.

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  • Volleyball parentFebruary 11, 2014 - 7:57 am

    This is so frustrating!!! My son had a countdown till season stars, like it was Christmas, and the day before the tryouts he's got a message that tryouts canceled and they are looking for a coach. Are you kidding me!!!!!! They HAVE A COACH!!!!! Let her do her job and let our kids play! Stop messing up with this program year after year?

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  • February 11, 2014 - 8:05 am

    So is this what the school board does when it's not dreaming up new parcel taxes?

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  • Fred HarveyFebruary 11, 2014 - 8:21 am

    Perhaps the Grand Jury should look into this travesty! The utterances from the administration just do not add up. If this is indeed is a personal vendetta orchestrated by Peterson then she needs to be investigated for harassment and malfeasance under color of the board authority. A Grand Jury investigation would not doubt turn up other anomalies by the school board. All it takes is one citizen of Yolo County submitting a complaint to the Jury foreman.

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  • Volleyball parentFebruary 11, 2014 - 8:47 am

    This is a comment from my friend, an outsider, who is shocked to hear what's going on in our educated Davis: " Wow! That is one messed up school. Finally they get the boys program going and they choose to sabotage it because of a personal vendetta? Someone should be fired and it isn't the coach!!!" Now you have it , our school officials. You are going to leave a "Great" legacy !

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  • Marc KennerFebruary 11, 2014 - 9:31 am

    If this is true that a board member who's son or daughter plays on the team was the one who pulled the contract? They need to resign or be recalled!!! Once again what is the message you are teaching your children!!!! High school ( especially on staff coaches) should be treated like gold!! They don't coach for the money, they do it for the kids!

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  • FUPFebruary 11, 2014 - 11:31 am

    Seriously is this happening again? What is the real reason, I just don't understand?? What I am reading again is a board member is involved behind the scenes trying to ruin a coaches reputation? Really? Small town politics at play here, is this true? I am calling Andy Cohen from BravoTV, he would love this crap we could possibly make money as a reality show "Real Board Members of Davis"

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  • February 11, 2014 - 2:42 pm

    The AD signed her hire paperwork. He has publicly defended and stood up up for miss Crawford many times. The issue lies at the District administrators only have so much control and say so. This mess did not start until the last board change over. I am a basketball and football parent and I have seen the routine many times now. Our board needs to do their job and address educational, budgetary and procedural not individual coaching situations....that is why you have site administration.

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  • CitizenFebruary 11, 2014 - 12:23 pm

    All of the volleyball parents need to be at the next school board meeting. If this Nancy Peterson person has a personal vendetta against Julie Crawford the school board would be wise to investigate.

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  • February 11, 2014 - 12:25 pm

    When is the next meeting?

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  • Bob SimonsFebruary 11, 2014 - 8:32 pm

    it's not until the 20th. Pretty tough to get a season together after that meeting, finding a coach, and then enticing a group of students to play. This needs to be acted on immediately!!!

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  • February 11, 2014 - 1:01 pm

    Let's get rid of the good coach. Who cares if the students suffer for it. If a school board member is behind this, get rid of them. If you find that the Principle and AD are to cowardly to go to the other school board members and get this corrected GET RID OF THEM TOO!!! It's not that hard to find replacements for people that sit behind a desk and act important yet have no back bone!!!

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  • February 11, 2014 - 2:22 pm

    I believe that they are attempting to make the meeting about Julie a closed session meeting so they do not have to answer to the public. The last time they did this, the truth came out and they looked foolish. HAY BOARD, do the RIGHT thing and give Julie her coaching job back, like all of the players want.

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  • Bob SimonsFebruary 11, 2014 - 4:58 pm

    A real problem is that the next scheduled Board of Trustees meeting is not until February 20. This issue can't wait until then. Without a coach, this program will cease to exist. That is a sad state for a program that is productive, successful, and demonstrating improvement on a regular basis - both girls and boys programs.

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  • un-surprised alumnFebruary 11, 2014 - 3:39 pm

    As a 3 sport athlete at DHS and a current D1 athlete, the whole athletic system, school board through AD, parent through coaches, is dysfunctional. It's sad that so much time is spent firing and hiring and battling between the two, rather than focusing on the kids, WINNING, and preparing and producing athletes to compete at the next level. The difference between Davis and high schools who consistently win Section and State titles (in major sports...), is TRUST. No program can function and be successful when players are constantly paranoid their coach will be gone the next year, coaches paranoid their jobs are at stake, and ADs paranoid the "man" (school board and higher) will yank them at any given point. Athletics are not a democracy. A coach makes the decisions, and that's that. Unfortunately, DHS sports have become overly influence by community members and office holders who know very little nor have any right to make decisions regarding sports teams.

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  • DHS AlumniFebruary 11, 2014 - 4:36 pm

    In the real world, there are no obligations to publicly explain a personal change. While it's easy to speculate doesn't matter. Managers make decisions. It's irresponsible to point fingers because you feel powerless. "But my son this, my daughter that...'. This is the problem with Davis.

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  • Another DHS AlumniFebruary 12, 2014 - 12:08 am

    I could not agree with you more. There is a huge vibe of entitlement and that's just not the real world.

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  • DHS Alum - AAU Athletics CoachFebruary 12, 2014 - 5:11 pm

    As a former DHS athlete and a current coach of an AAU sport the sense of "entitlement" is very prevalent at all ages in our organization. It is very discouraging as a person who loves coaching the sport that it is more about who's rear end you need to kiss rather than getting the job done and setting these young persons up for future success. Not knowing the coach personally but after reading the article it appears that bureaucrats are getting in the way of a successful coach doing their job. Once again it comes down to who you are kissing up to rather than the success rate. A great lesson to teach the young people being affected.

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  • Former DHS girls volleyball playerFebruary 11, 2014 - 4:32 pm

    As a former DHS girls volleyball player I cannot believe that coach crawford is not being reinstated she deserves it more than anyother coach at DHS. She has sacrificed so much to continue the mens and womens volleyball programs and keep them alive and striving. She is an excellent coach and a great person and if she is not reinstated the program may not succeed like it should. The board needs to put personal issues aside and rehire the coach crawford who deserves it and can keep our teams at the top of the leader board.

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  • February 11, 2014 - 5:33 pm

    Hey, heres a good idea… GET RID of Nancy Peterson!

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  • Marc KennerFebruary 11, 2014 - 6:23 pm

    Aren't some of these school board members running for city council?

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  • Volleyball parentFebruary 11, 2014 - 6:26 pm

    Who would ever vote for them again?!

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  • February 12, 2014 - 1:07 am

    Unfortunately the 3 Board members whose terms are expiring are the only ones with any sense. Nancy Peterson is newest Board member, and Susan Lovenburg is nearly always on the same side of issues as Nancy. Can't we keep the other 3 (Daleiden, Taylor and Allen) and put Nancy and Susan up for re-election instead?

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  • Bob SimonsFebruary 12, 2014 - 2:31 pm

    That's called a recall. Hey, it's possible.

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  • Erik PrusselFebruary 11, 2014 - 7:46 pm

    The so called firing/not rehiring of Julie Crawford as the Boys' Volleyball Coach at DHS is exasperating, frustrating, and outright ridiculous. I am an outsider looking in but I have taught high school for 20 years and I coached for nine of those years and when there is an on-campus coach that displays a genuine interest in building a program for the sport that they are a part of and holds a sincere caring about the students that are a part of their program there is absolutely no reason to not have this coach back year after year. The school and the district should be bending over backwards to retain and to assist as much as possible these coaches. The school and the district should at minimum not be an obstacle. As a community we need to be more grateful for these individuals who put in countless hours for very little pay. We may not always agree with each coach's methods but when their passion for the program and for our students is sincere and well intentioned it is time for the community to either say nothing or offer support and words of encouragement. If we don't start doing that we will soon find that good coaches plain and simple won't want to coach here. That will be a very big shame.

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  • February 11, 2014 - 8:41 pm

    WOW! 27 comments and all of them against this firing decision, the AD, Nancy Peterson and the school board. Shame on US if any of these people are re-elected or retained to their position.

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  • February 12, 2014 - 12:57 am

    Unfortunately the 3 Board members who are up for election (including the one running for city council) are the only 3 with only sense. When these 3 leave, we will be left with those that are the real problem. Nancy Peterson is the newest Board member. Too bad we can't keep the 3 whose terms are expiring and jettison the other 2.

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  • February 11, 2014 - 8:54 pm

    Just to make it clear the AD and principal have now sign Ms. Crawford's VSA (coaching contract). This indicates that for the last 2 yrs as varsity coach the athletic director has wanted her to coach. The choice to not hire her comes directly from the district level over ruling the the athletic director and principal both. Again the last 2 times Julie has been "fired" have been fought by the AD to no avail.

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  • Davis parentFebruary 11, 2014 - 9:04 pm

    Was this why Jacqui Moore left as principal of DHS last year? Objections to the firing (or not hiring) of Crawford?

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  • February 11, 2014 - 9:21 pm

    I can't say for sure, but working with her closely I feel like this battle did take its toll on her. She as well signed a VSA for Julie. BTW Dr. Moore is currently holding the position of district level administrator in Galt.....just a little step up....i guess her administrative skills are decent.

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  • February 11, 2014 - 9:24 pm

    It appears that some of the previous comments have disappeared. Is OZ behind the black curtain sensoring out the truth.

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  • MLFebruary 11, 2014 - 9:30 pm

    Again. Or is it the resurrection of Nancy Peterson? Never met either woman, but Coach Crawford sounds like a great coach, and when I read her team rules, I could read between the lines and see that there is a lot of unnecessary flak from current-day parents. Reading Peterson's bio, this is my guess: she sounds like an over-educated woman with too much time on her hands. And her status as an "assistant coach" probably makes her a know-it-all. Please, give it a rest.

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  • February 11, 2014 - 9:56 pm

    Bit much......but she does need to step down due to her personAl feelings and emotion that she is unable to leave aside.

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  • February 11, 2014 - 10:24 pm

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  • FalconFebruary 11, 2014 - 10:27 pm

    Check the DJUSD web site. The is a special meeting planned for 2/13/14 @ 7am. Agenda is also available online.

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  • Here we go again...February 11, 2014 - 10:32 pm

    Apparently I've been censored for saying what EVERYONE is thinking, Peterson has an agenda....plain and simple, it's sad that politics has taken the sport away from the kids, I find it VERY ironic with all this "anti-bullying" that is making its way through schools across the country that administrators aren't held to the same standards, great example you're setting Nancy. Peterson didn't get her way so she threw a temper-tantrum and strong armed administrators to conform with her agenda, pathetic and sad, grow up

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  • CarltonFebruary 12, 2014 - 12:09 am

    Fire winning coaches, that makes plenty of sense, crucify those who are proven winners, well done DHS Administration, great example you're setting

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  • BlueDevils99February 12, 2014 - 8:45 am

    Last year the Enterprise had an article titled "Trustees Rehire Crawford as girls volleyball Coach". On July 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm, this telling comment was left by two of her players. "Makena Sherwood and Maya GilardiJuly 18, 2013 - 12:19 pm As players for Julie Crawford we are relieved and extremely happy that Julie has been reinstated to the position she deserves. Out of all the coaches we have played for Julie is by far the most dedicated, experienced, and hardworking coach we’ve had. We hope that the Davis community realizes that Julie Crawford is not the problem and understands that the true problem lies with one board member: Nancy Peterson. It isn’t a coincidence that Julie Crawford all of a sudden was in question and under a constant microscope immediately after Ms. Peterson was voted into being our districts newest board member. It’s ironic how Nancy Peterson speaks of integrity when she has shown a complete lack of integrity throughout this entire situation and we have personally witnessed time and time again Ms. Peterson treating Ms. Crawford horribly. It is also interesting that all of the complaints against Julie Crawford were made by close family friends of Nancy Peterson and are not the opinion of the greater volleyball community."

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  • February 12, 2014 - 10:50 pm

    And it continues....the person who has applied for this job who is interviewing on Thursday (tomorrow) is a coach in the same volleyball program the Nancy Petersons son plays in. I am not sure why some people cam not connect the dots but they seem pretty clear to me. Everyone of them leads right back to Nancy Peterson. This coach has also been contacting Ms. Crawford for about a month to ask questions regarding the program. So if you can't connect the dots let me tell you...this is a individual interest board member with her own agenda.

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  • BlueDevil99February 14, 2014 - 10:35 am

    Wow. Well, one more fact, and one guess. Have you googled the lawyer / "investigator" who conducted the "investigation"? Mr. Alexander M. Sperry does work in employment law for the Van Dermyden Maddux Law Corporation of Sacramento. Did you know that one of his prestigious and noted clients was the U.C. Davis Health System? I wonder if he knows Dr. Peterson? Who first contacted this lawyer, the DJUSD, or the Peterson's? And as part of his investigation, did he interview the team selection committee that ranked the girl's volleyball players during trouts? While a coach does have the right to select the players, this volleyball selection committee seems like the coach was being careful to protect herself, so I hope this lawyer reviewed their work. Second, why would the board wait 2+ months to announce their decision? Was it so that Coach Crawford and her many supporters wouldn't have enough time to reverse the backroom deal? Either way, I hope someone tells us the name of the Peterson's Volleyball new Coach.

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  • Napolean Pig IVFebruary 13, 2014 - 11:10 am

    Don't you all see that you are missing the important issue here? It doesn't matter if a good coach is harassed and then fired under the secret cover of "a personnel matter." It also doesn't matter if children are hurt in the process. No. What matters is that an elected school board member, clearly an elite member of our community, be given full opportunity to reap the rewards to which a person of her status is entitled? Don't you get it? Politicians are special. Public service is the route to power and riches. Stop your whining already!

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  • jumascoFebruary 13, 2014 - 2:36 pm

    wow, working/coaching for the davis school district- sounds like some sort of bizzaro world where the school board gets to decide who coaches. how progressive! feel sorry for the people of davis. stay strong coach.

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  • February 16, 2014 - 11:40 pm

    The problem in our school district starts at the top. If the AD and DHS principal ok'ed the VSA, it must have been Superintendent Roberson and/or Matt Best who pulled it, right? They are certainly not serving the Davis community well. If the DJUSD leadership was competent, they would not have allowed this to happen (and certainly not for a second time). This is not to diminish Nancy's role in the issue, as her behavior is clearly not what should be tolerated in a School Board member.

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  • Blue DevilFebruary 17, 2014 - 8:00 pm

    Does anyone else wonder when Julie will be feed up with Nancy Peterson's vendetta against her and leave for a better coaching environment? Davis politics are about to force the best coach we have out of town.

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    Patricia Echevarria

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Andrew Dowling

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Sheryl Patterson

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Don Guthrie

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Heather Barnes

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Julie Partain & Dick Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Willowbank Park

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Team Traverso

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Tim Harrison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Lori Prizmich

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Raul Zamora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Open House Map

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20