Thursday, April 24, 2014

Trustees rehire Crawford as girls volleyball coach

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 or 530-747-8055.


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


Food insecurity remains an issue for many county residents

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

4-H members prepare for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12



Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6



DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8





Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11







Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6