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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Time to move on from comments

BruceGallaudetW

By
From page B1 | January 17, 2012 | 13 Comments

There is, at this point, nothing that can be said to smooth the choppy waters through which newly appointed Davis High girls soccer coach Sara Stone now sails.

It’s been a week and the vitriol that still flows is disturbing.

Last week, I weighed in, agreeing in spirit with a letter that was sent to our editor. The letter made points about Stone and her father, Ashley Yudin, being model contributors to Davis soccer and that people should not be concerned about the most talented (or best fit) kids not being chosen for the high school team.

I disagreed with a public comment made at a December Board of Education meeting voicing the concern that Stone might look only to club players, not considering AYSO kids.

Three things to note:

* The three of us (me, Scott Ragsdale and Cary Boyden) involved in voicing differing opinions about tryouts and the Yudin connection to Legacy club soccer provided our names, stood tall in our beliefs and we continue to provide honest assessments. We each stand behind our views.

* My column and the accompanying Sara Stone feature were never a debate about the ability of Sara Stone as a soccer coach. But it evolved into such an argument in The Enterprise online posts.

Before Stone was chosen, I talked with administrators, some of her former players and AYSO and Legacy coaches — past and present. I’ve yet to hear a discouraging word about Sara Stone and am happy for her. This is coming from a guy who wrote a note of recommendation for another candidate.

I will continue talking with folks about every choice in every sport at Davis High School. But there are some folks I will not chat with — which leads to my next comment.

* Back to “providing their names … standing tall …” I don’t deal in anonymous criticism. I understand why a parent would hesitate to undersign a concern about a teacher or coach if their kid was still involved or affected by the subject person. But if a concern is so overwhelming, there are channels through which to vent, even to effect change.

Publicly shredding someone’s character; anonymously going public with a charge that may or may not be true (or isolated); using threats (as at least one of our removed comments did); and continuing the argument long after any meaningful dialogue has expired is making no sense to me.

Handling personnel matters in a public forum is a tricky matter. Trustees and school officials try to make the process “transparent,” as Superintendent Winfred Roberson once told me. It is usually an advise-and-consent process.

Administrators make the final decisions on hiring coaches after hearing from a nonbinding selection committee, which is charged not only with judging the candidates from what they know, but offering their two cents about what they hear about So-And-So.

Judging from the bazillion Sac-Joaquin Section titles DHS has won, looking at the literally thousands of Devil athletes who have earned university scholarships over the years and thinking about the longevity at the high school that most of our coaches have, it occurs to me that this district and school administration have a pretty good handle on who is best for the kids.

Perfect science? No. Good track record? Absolutely. Next step? Let Sara Stone coach in peace. The anonymous attacks — true or not — are less than courageous and are hurting a program that should be basking in the glow of winning its fourth CIF championship last spring.

While I Have You Here: I remain in the minority about what makes for good online fodder in a newspaper’s comment sections.

At The Enterprise, we allow anonymous comments, within a stated policy that reserves our right to remove certain libelous and threatening entries.

If it were up to me, I wouldn’t allow anonymous comments — not for public consumption. But I’ve been told it makes for healthy public debate.

I’m just feeling bad that some of us don’t have something more positive to talk about — especially now that points have been made.

Can we move on?

— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer at The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at bgallaudet@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8047.

Bruce Gallaudet

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Discussion | 13 comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • John TroidlJanuary 16, 2012 - 8:42 pm

    Yes, please do... move on. Played soccer in high school, first in Mexico then back her in the US (Bay Area). Enjoyed it. Did not think coach was perfect. Still enjoyed it and respected him. Team-mates and I still get together... with the coach, to catch a game or two. Life's too short. There are MUCH more important things to pay attention to ... like unemployment, social justice, and honoring Dr. MLK. And if that does not satisfy you, then GO 9ers!

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  • Sorry...still anonymousJanuary 16, 2012 - 9:42 pm

    "But if a concern is so overwhelming, there are channels through which to vent, even to effect change." Could someone in the know publicly report on what those channels are at DLSC ? I have inquired and there is no literature given to new parents about how to handle a concern, at least on our team there was not. We were just told by our manager "put it in the evaluations." All we know is that all avenues of complaint lead to Coach Yudin, and that can be a problem for some who have an "overwhelming concern." Does anyone know, is there an outside or higher authority to which parents and players at DLSC could constructively turn?

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  • josh LutzkerJanuary 17, 2012 - 7:09 am

    You can send me your concerns, I am the VP of Membership DLSC Bruce thank you for the follow up article, let's hope people can move on and support the team and Sara.

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  • Sorry...still anonymousJanuary 17, 2012 - 9:27 am

    Thank you Josh. This is still an internal route and cannot guarantee anonymity. The complaint system other parents have experienced at DLSC is circular and does seem to lead anywhere.Can anyone answer my question as to whether there is an outside- of -DLSC authority or entity to whom parents may appeal? Or at least, anyone to whom I may direct about this question., or where I may look up the answer? Josh do you know?

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  • Josh LutzkerJanuary 18, 2012 - 6:16 am

    Sorry you feel that way!

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  • Ray NewlandJanuary 18, 2012 - 1:53 pm

    If you have had, and still have, a problem with Coach Yudin, why don't you go play somewhere else? Why didn't you leave the program right away? Your main problem is that your child probably didn't get the playing time YOU felt they deserved. This is probably the case because they're not as good as you think they are. Sometimes the truth hurts and many people can't handle it. If you really want to solve the problem, enroll your daughter in a less competitive soccer school, like Woodland or Dixon. She can be one of the fastest horses in a slow race. She can get tons of playing time on a .500 Division III team that may produce a JC player. Lastly, your "outside of DLSC authority" would need to know your name. Always easy to type from behind a computer screen

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  • Claudia SienezJanuary 19, 2012 - 7:08 pm

    Unfortunately for girls soccer, Davis is kind of an island and there isn't much around the area that emphasizes girl's sports like Davis. Conversely, girl's soccer is outstanding in the Bay Area. Teams from Cupertino, Mountainview, San Jose, Palo Alto, Redwood City are much stronger than Davis. If you don't believe me check the club rankings. Kids can switch from competitive club to competitive club by driving 15 minutes away and some communities have several clubs. They can even switch to open enrollment high schools. Don't be so self rightous about Davis soccer and lighten up. Davis benefits from having one high school for such a large community and limited competition. Your comments about producing a JC player are also demeaning.

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  • Sharla CheneyJanuary 20, 2012 - 8:42 am

    I agree with Claudia. My daughter was rejected by the local competitive team after the local coach recruited 6 or 7 players from his former team in Vacaville. She left Davis to play on a Premier team in the Bay Area and played Varsity soccer for her High School there. I know of several other Davis girls who had to go to Sacramento / Elk Grove after not making the Davis team that same year. I am positive that it was because of parent interference that these girls were not selected for the Davis team. This was not so evident in the Bay Area. My daughter attended several tryouts alone and received calls from several teams. It was a great confidence booster after her demeaning experience in Davis. Davis needs two high schools, more soccer teams and, at the competitive level, parents should be banned from tryouts, practices and, if they misbehave, games.

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  • Olivier D.January 20, 2012 - 9:59 am

    Davis is in a unique situation with its soccer programs because there is only one high school and only one competitive club. From a sports standpoint, it would be much better if there were local competition for Legacy and the high school. Sacramento has many CYSA clubs, NorCal Premier clubs, and one development academy within close proximity to one another. No one would argue that these clubs are any less competitive than Legacy. Unfortunately it is just not practical to drive 40 minutes from Davis to Sacramento for several practices each week. So we are stuck with what we have, and that is the head coaches of the only high school being the same personnel as the coaches in the the only club.

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  • Sorry...still anonymousJanuary 17, 2012 - 9:29 am

    "does not seem"

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  • LynneJanuary 17, 2012 - 1:02 pm

    "Administrators make the final decisions on hiring coaches after hearing from a non-binding selection committee, which is charged not only with judging the candidates from what they know, but offering their two cents about what they hear about so-and-so." The first committee, acting on what they heard, did NOT recommend Ms. Stone for the job. They did their job, just as you describe it and recommended against hiring her-- based on what they heard. The process was halted on their objection. But whomever was determined that Ms. Stone get this position, then put together another selection committee, apparently, one that was made up of folks much harder-of-hearing. And, lo and behold, the candidacy went through. So. Ms. Stone is the DHS girls' soccer coach for 2012. So be it. The girls on the team will be amazing like they always are. But our CIF defending champions deserved a genuine coach selection process based on the true qualifications and reputations of the candidates and not some small town political namby-pamby. In fact, Ms. Stone deserved better. Her reputation got crucified after the fact, not least because people felt justice was not served-- for the other candidates, for the team, or for her-- in such a manipulated hiring process. Sure, let's move on. Let's cheer for the girls. But let's not kid ourselves; this very important coaching appointment was gotten on influence as much as, or more than, on Ms. Stone's ability as a soccer coach.

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  • KellyJanuary 17, 2012 - 8:21 pm

    Why were there two separate committees? Can someone from the hiring committee come on here and address this unusual selection process?

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  • Frank MetlerJanuary 20, 2012 - 4:47 pm

    The earlier comments about not having comp team choices is confusing to me. Our current DY team has girls from Elk Grove, Sacramento, and Vacaville.. They all make the practices and the games. My daughter played in Sacramento for a year, and the parents found a way to share rides and get the girls to practice. There is always a choice. My daughter currently plays DYSL on Sara Stone's team. Sara is a fair, no-nonsense coach. The U14 DY women's team has periodically been rankied in the top ten in N. CA. over the last several months. There is a certain reality in sports. The teams with the best players and coaches normally win the most games. Before you reach conclusions about Sara, give her an opportunity to demonstrate what she can do. If she doesn't produce successful teams, changes will likely be made. I doubt that DHS players and parents will be disappointed.

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