Wresting coaching controversy returns for Tecumseh Public Schools
Controversy about the Tecumseh High School wrestling program and how it is coached resurfaced at the Monday, April 22, school board meeting. Several audience members and student athletes took the opportunity to voice their displeasure at the dismissal of head wrestling coach Tony Greathouse. The same controversy erupted last year at this time, when Greathouse was dismissed by athletic director Casey Randolph.
That dispute surfaced last year at the end of the wrestling season in school board public comment periods, and the opening salvo was from Greathouse accompanied by his supporters who were present. The following board meeting was attended by Randolph and his supporters. Both sides made their cases to the board publicly. The differences were settled in private meetings between the athletic director and the coach, with Greathouse being reinstated as head wrestling coach for the 2012-2013 school year.
At Monday night’s meeting, audience member Pat Pelham asked the board to intervene on Greathouse’s behalf, once again. “I would like to know why he was dismissed by the athletic director,” he said. “It seems like a witch-hunt to me,”
Another audience member commented, “I like both men, but I do have a problem with the coach being fired.”
Board President Ed Tritt told the audience that the trustees were not at liberty to discuss personnel matters in an open meeting. “Our job is to hire a superintendent. This is on Mr. McAran’s plate. There are private things that can’t be discussed,” he said.
Pelham asked the board if any of the trustees had seen Greathouse’s professional development plan that he was asked to sign and follow as a provision of his reinstatement as head coach last year. “In my eyes he’s done everything right,” Pelham said. “The wrestling program is the most successful sports program, thanks to coach Greathouse.”
The wrestling season ended last month with the team at the state quarterfinals in Battle Creek with a 30-13 season record. Six wrestlers advanced to the state individual finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Coaching contracts are reviewed yearly and may be renewed or not at the athletic director’s discretion.
“With neither man here, we can’t discuss the issue,” said Tritt. “In some people’s eyes the board did go too far last time. There’s more to being a coach than wins and losses.”
“Obviously, we don’t hire and fire coaches,” said trustee Stanley Ames. “Anybody who sat here last year could see this coming. I suggest we let the new superintendent take a look at it.”
“We have an obligation to find out what is going on with the wrestling program,” board member Roger Hart said. “This has to end.”
“I wouldn’t mind having a meeting with these two people,” said Tritt, referring to the coach and athletic director. “We need to listen to both sides of the story and come to a consensus. I’m not in favor of open session discussions of personnel issues.”
Board Vice President Jim Rice urged caution and deliberation by the board. “There will be a changing of the guard with the new superintendent,” he said. “We should not be interested in micromanaging. Our responsibility was to hire a superintendent, which was accomplished.”
Contacted Tuesday, Randolph said only that he regretted having to take the action against Greathouse. “Policy forbids me to elaborate any further on the issue,” he said.
Greathouse is a teacher at Tecumseh Middle School and his position there is not affected by the non-renewal of his coaching contract.