Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Trustees rehire Crawford as girls volleyball coach

By
From page B1 | July 17, 2013 | 9 Comments

DVC coach of the year Julie Crawford will return to lead the Davis High girls volleyball team this fall. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise file photo

After listening to 45 minutes of sometimes-severe criticism regarding the departure of several high school coaches over the past two years, the Davis school board voted 3-1 Wednesday to rehire Julie Crawford as DHS girls volleyball coach.

The vote, which reversed an earlier administrative decision, was taken in open session following a two-hour closed-door discussion. Trustees Sheila Allen, Gina Daleiden and Susan Lovenburg 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’m thrilled to be coaching the 2013 girls volleyball team,” Crawford said via email Wednesday night. She did not attend the afternoon board meeting. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the support I have received from my boys and girls volleyball teams, their families, the Davis community, and my friends and family. I cannot wait to get things started tomorrow.”

Peterson cited a passage from the school district’s handbook for coaches regarding “integrity,” and added, “My vote reflects nothing more than my continued pursuit of ideals centered on children. I cannot in good conscience vote to approve Ms. Crawford as a coach for young adults.”

Daleiden cited “new information” that had come to the board’s attention recently that influenced her vote.

The closed-session agenda also included discussion of the recent release of DHS varsity football coach Steve Smyte and a performance evaluation of Athletic Director Dennis Foster.

During public comment, parent Olga Simons said her son played on Crawford’s DHS boys volleyball team as well as other teams. “If you asked my son who was his favorite coach, he would say Coach Julie,” she said. “When I told him she might not come back, he was absolutely devastated. … It’s absolutely a crime to let Coach Julie go.”

Parent Jason Fisk, on the other hand, said “some things in volleyball didn’t go well for my daughter; she had a very negative experience.” And while Fisk said he’d heard “some things that didn’t sound right to me” regarding the recent departure of several coaches, he added, “As a board, you need to listen to your staff and you need to support their decisions.”

Cathy Haskell, former president of the Davis Teachers Association, expressed concern that recent school district decisions that resulted in the departure of several coaches “didn’t seem to be made in a timely way.” Haskell also worried that coaches who had not been renewed had not “been told what they needed to work on.”

“I hope everyone gets to keep their job and there is clear communication when someone might not be invited back,” she said. “I’m nervous about one board member’s participation and complaints against a particular coach.”

Smyte spoke about his recent departure as head football coach for the past three seasons. Saying that he wanted to “clear the air about some things,” Smyte spoke with some pride about how he and his coaching staff had attracted more players, achieved a better won-loss record and saw the grade-point average of football players improve from a collective 2.2 to 3.2.

Smyte said when he met last month with Dennis Foster and Assistant Superintendent Matt Best, “I came into the meeting with the expectation that this might have been my final year (as coach). My goal was to pass it on to a younger guy, who could grow the program.

“I did not quit. I expected to coach (this season),” Smyte said. “(But) after our discussion, they felt it would be best if I stepped down, and I did.” He said he is not asking for his coaching job back.

Responding to comments that his team’s practice sessions were too long, Smyte said, “We did have practice times that went over. … You can’t achieve greatness by doing the status quo. I believe that (student-athletes) need to work hard to achieve goals.”

Smyte added that “I was told ‘Davis kids are soft, they are not going to put in that time.’ My experience was different. We had lots of guys willing to work hard. What we needed was support, people to stand behind us.

“Sometimes you have to make tough decisions, do things that are going to be best for the program,” he continued. “A moral compass has to be where we start. Ethics are important. Whether you are 15 minutes late for dinner … that’s not important.”

He added, “I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone.”

Smyte said he and Foster had reached an “impasse” on philosophical issues.

“He is the athletic director, he has every right to ask for my dismissal,” Smyte said. “My hope, in the future, is that this district and the district leadership is transparent in what they do, and how they do it — that they make sure they do things in the right way.

“I was so blessed to work with the players I worked with, the coaches I worked with. My purpose is not to throw anybody under the bus, or affix blame. We really need as a society … to stand back, take a look and make sure we do the right thing for our students.”

Parent Colleen Martin worried that someone at the school district had “overstepped their bounds,” leading to the departure of several coaches. Parent Ashley Means acknowledged that she had complained about long football practices but added that “rather than terminating (Smyte), there were better ways parents and administrators could have come together.”

Dave Whitmire, who coached football at Davis High for 30 years, spoke at length, recalling that in decades past, the school board “never got involve in athletics” and parents were more supportive.

“When I coached, did we have long practices? Yes. Was I demanding? Yes. If you want to have a successful program, you have to be demanding. … We need to have a principal and athletic director that will start backing these coaches.”

Allen Carlson, who coached DHS girls and boys soccer for 20 years, charged that “the school board is trying to micromanage athletic teams. Board members should not be involved in conversations about coaches, and it is clear they are. … There needs to be a high bar for letting (coaches) go.”

Brent Miille, a baseball coach, told the board that the variable services agreements, under which coaches serve, “provide zero protection. … It may be nuts for coaches to take on such big programs, knowing you could be released (at any time) for any reason.”

Miille suggested that a neutral third party should attend evaluations between coaches and administrators “so that what’s happened of late doesn’t continue to happen.”

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8055.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 9 comments

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

  • Olga SimonsJuly 17, 2013 - 7:16 am

    Great article Jeff! Thank you! Thank you "Davis Enterprise" for keeping our community informed about this issue . With your help we got our beloved Coach back.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • the original blue devilJuly 17, 2013 - 1:34 pm

    For the record: I am happy that the rest of the board of education could see past the petty complaints and do what is right for the greater good of the entire volleyball community instead of giving into the pressure of Nancy Peterson. While I also understand that everyone has a right to their own opinion, I must call attention to the fact that Jason Fisk's daughter never played volleyball directly under Julie so I find his complaint to not hold any weight when he says, “some things in volleyball didn’t go well for my daughter; she had a very negative experience.” Blame is being placed incorrectly and responsibility should be taken in appropriate places. Finally, if Nancy Peterson states that “My vote reflects nothing more than my continued pursuit of ideals centered on children. I cannot in good conscience vote to approve Ms. Crawford as a coach for young adults". I must post the question, why is she the only one that feels that way? It seems that what one person wanted at the expense of many has no "integrity" and again shows her personal conflict with the situation. For the future, I would ask for recusal when board members are voting for situations regarding activities that their own children participate in. Thank you to the the rest of the board for getting to the bottom of this conflict and doing the right thing by reinstating a highly talented and ethical coach.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Another Blue DevilJuly 18, 2013 - 11:55 am

    Just wondering, if Nancy Peterson feels so strongly that she " cannot approve Ms. Crawford as a coach for young adults", then how can she "in good conscience" allow her son to play for the DHS boys volleyball team and her daughter to play for the DHS girls volleyball team, both coached by Coach Crawford? Seems like Pererson has been caught in a "do as I say, not as I do" situation, among other personal conflicts. It is my hope that Coach Crawford can continue her coaching career at DHS without further disruption. Thank you to the Davis School Board for righting this wrong.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • RobertJuly 17, 2013 - 2:59 pm

    "Smyte spoke with some pride about how he and his coaching staff had attracted more players, achieved a better won-loss record and saw the grade-point average of football players improve from a collective 2.2 to 3.2." 2.2? Is this a typo? Congratulations to Coach Smyte and his team for improving their collective GPA. A one point jump is quite an achievement, and the administrators should have noted this.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • BobJuly 17, 2013 - 4:46 pm

    Smyte is 100% stand up guy. It really makes me wonder what's going on that coaches are being removed lacking what seems to be an informed process. I would love to hear from someone in administration, the board, or otherwise who can shed some light on this.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mJuly 17, 2013 - 5:02 pm

    If it wasn't obvious before, it's obvious now that this whole ordeal was a result of some bizarre personal vendetta that Nancy Peterson has with Julie Crawford. If Nancy Petersen bothered herself to thumb through the school district’s handbook for coaches to find some warped validation for her dissent, maybe she can also bother herself to pick up a dictionary and look up the definition for irony; maybe then she will feel some kind of shame or embarrassment for calling out someone else for their integrity. I hope in the future that people confront Nancy Petersen and ask her why she tried so hard to get Julie fired. Tried...and failed. This decision is a total vindication for Julie Crawford; a great coach, and an even better human being.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Joe von KugelgenJuly 17, 2013 - 5:45 pm

    Thanks to Davis Enterprise for keeping this story alive. That means you too, Bob Dunning. Thanks to Sacramento TV news. Thanks to parents and Davis High students for speaking up. Thanks to coach Julie for being willing to return in spite of "micro-managing" (a useful euphemism for lots of stuff) by the Board. I would also like to add a small vote of sympathy for the school administrators who were caught between being reasonable and supporting one or two Board members. This should not be done to good people. The Board has righted a wrong that they, at first, co-authored. Thanks to them too.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MCMJuly 18, 2013 - 7:21 am

    I am so happy for Julie Crawford. I have a huge amount of respect for this young lady. She has stayed true to herself, held her head high and did not let a few individuals try to ruin a career she is so passionate about. There is absolutely no evidence that she did anything wrong or did not perform her job with integrity. I really hope that the "higher ups" look into Ms. Peterson's involvement and hold her to the high standards she says she aspires to.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • 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. I hope the Davis community will now think twice about who they put their trust in the next time we need to vote on who is on our school board.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Old friend helps Brad and others find kidneys

    By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Chuck Rairdan joins school board race

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

    Davis United Methodist Church, Holmes Green Team leaders honored

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    ‘Hitchhiking’ dog looking for new home

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Online K-12 school holds info night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Schwenger lawn signs available

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Volunteers needed for Grad Night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Davis grad makes rain collection a business

    By Jason McAlister | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    A few spots left on history tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Chipotle fundraiser boosts Emerson tech upgrade

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Event to provide nature scholarship

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Students have new options on leasing front

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Author discusses memoirs of Appalachia at The Avid Reader

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    NAMI backers walk in Sacramento

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Food for the hungry

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

    Groups join for a day of service

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Forum

    Dad makes mom look bad

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    More tax money? Answer the question

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

     
    UCD IS responsible for students

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    In search of great ideas

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

    Please keep the nursery open

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Early help is a great investment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Sharks double up Kings in Game 1

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Aggies lose a slugfest in opener at Riverside

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Fox coming to UCD; Riffle heads to Florida

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    DHS’ Golston goes full-bore on the diamond

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils show more life in loss to Mitty

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    DYSA roundup: Intensity has big week; 10U games dominate schedule

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Pro baseball roundup: Susac sends Sacramento to a rare loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Sports briefs: Aggies set the academic bar high

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘The Bloom’ paves way for Whole Earth Festival

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    DHS tribute to Tony Fields slated for April 25-26

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    UCD, city team up for Music on the Green

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘Transcendence’: A whole new level of tedium

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Ford turns its Focus to domestic market

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 18, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Acacia at Huntington Square

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Yolo FCU

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Suzanne Kimmel

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Patricia Echevarria

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Sheryl Patterson

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Don Guthrie

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Andrew Dowling

    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

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Tim Harrison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Team Traverso

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Lori Prizmich

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Raul Zamora

    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