Wednesday, January 28, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Trustees rehire Crawford as girls volleyball coach

By
From page B1 | July 17, 2013 |

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.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

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

  • .

    News

    In vino veritas: A criminal case and intrigue in Napa Valley

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Interfaith event focuses on justice

    By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Parking lawsuit may be more than meets the eye

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

     
    Blizzard howls its way into Boston

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    New-home sales jump 11.6% in December

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Senate Dems block GOP effort to wind down pipeline debate

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Crash leads to DUI, hit-run arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Winter produce, treats available at Wednesday market

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Have a ‘Heart to Heart’ with Dr. G

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Workshop offers tips on GoPro cameras

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sutter Davis Hospital seeks volunteer doulas

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Apply now for Soroptimist service grants

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Share your love (story) with us

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Storyteller relies on nature as his subject on Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Seed swap set Friday at Davis Cemetery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    VFW post plans Valentine’s Day Heroes Breakfast

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Apply now to be on Davis’ coop crawl

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Thorp receives UCD’s Distinguished Emeritus Award

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Learn nature photography from an expert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Innovation opportunities on the agenda

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sutter auxiliary seeks volunteers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    A winemaker’s downfall

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A7

    Gerber nominations open now

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Forum

    Taking turns as the halfway house

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Wife’s attitude costs her friends

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Damage done to democracy

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    It’s foggy? Turn on your headlights

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Locals will join march for climate change

    By Michelle Millet | From Page: A6

     
    A family was torn apart, but we survived

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    .

    Sports

    Anatomy of a hoops collapse: Can Aggie men handle the pressure?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD women need to get in gear for a basketball road trip

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie women almost get a sweep of Portland tennis teams

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Four DHS wrestlers soar at McClellan Air Force Base

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD swims past Santa Barbara

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Eat ribs for the Davis Aquadarts

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    Name Droppers: Lea Rosenberg leads Odd Fellows

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Arts

    DHS Idol finals will be a tough competition

    By Krystal Lau | From Page: A9

     
    ‘Ideation’ a funny, dark, thrilling farce — and more

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Wynonna Judd will perform Feb. 13 in Vacaville

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Death notice: Lorraine Bernice DeGraff

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7