Centennial HS was right to listen to parents upset with hire

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                </div>  Don’t misunderstand.  As a general rule, parents need to stay out of the business of running high school sports programs.  It almost always turns out badly when they don’t. […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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Don’t misunderstand.  As a general rule, parents need to stay out of the business of running high school sports programs.  It almost always turns out badly when they don’t.

But when 1,300 parents and others in the community cry foul, it’s time to make an exception.

Fortunately, in this case, Centennial High School realized there was good reason for the recent uproar when a new volleyball coach was hired to replace Carly Bourland, who left after directing the program the last 16 years.

The logical choice seemed to be moving Cari Bauer, the long-time girls’ JV coach who is also the boys’ varsity coach, into the position.  In fact, it was one of her former players who put up the online petition that collected 1,300 names in support of Baur.  Instead, the school hired Chad Speer, a club coach.

But there were too many factors favoring Bauer to ignore:

For one, Bauer has been a teacher and coach at the Peoria school for the past 20 years and was liked and respected by those who have played for her, as well as their parents.  She was a proven commodity and a safe choice.

Also, Bauer is a school employee.  Speer works off-campus

And finally, Bauer was familiar with the varsity players since most of them passed through her junior varsity program.  It would have been a very smooth transition to put her in place at the varsity level.

The elevation of Bauer to the varsity program should have been a no-brainer.  So how did Speer get the job?

The only theory that has been advanced so far is just that, a theory.  But it needs to be considered.  The daughter of one of the school administrators plays for Speer’s club team.

It’s hard to believe the school would let that influence the hire.  But it’s hard to ignore.

The important part of this odyssey is that the school district stepped in and reviewed the hire, eventually ruling in favor of hiring Bauer.  Peoria Unified School District officials have denied that the online petition had anything to do with the re-consideration, but that’s a hard sell.

As both a parent of high school athletes and a high school coach, I’ve been on both sides of the parent-involvement issue.  And I can attest to just how ugly things can get when parents stick their noses in where they don’t belong.

So kudos to Stefany Pew, who initiated the online petition, for the way this was handled.  Instead of showing up at the Feb. 11 school board meeting with a crowd of irate parents that would likely turn the meeting into an ugly affair, the process was allowed to proceed behind the scenes.

In the end, the winners turned out to be the players.  And that should always be the desired outcome since they are the ones who will live with the end result.

Sadly, that’s too often not the case in high school athletics.  But this was a welcome win.