Updated: Added comments from Dave Hall.
The Perrysburg Board of Education today approved the hiring of Dave Hall to serve his 29th season as high school varsity baseball coach, but not without controversy.
Last week, board member Cal Smith asked that Mr. Hall's head coaching contract be considered separately from the rest of the extracurricular contract. However, at the beginning of Tuesday's meeting he submitted Mr. Hall's contract for consideration in the collective vote for all 38 spring extracurricular contracts, which was approved 5-0.
That wasn't enough for about 70 audience members in support of Mr. Hall, who expressed anger that his contract renewal was being questioned at all.
"He is one of the most highly respected people in Perrysburg, in the entire Northern Lakes League, and in the entire state of Ohio," said Melissa Dimmerling, parent of a current player for Mr. Hall.
During her speech, she asked all those in support of Mr. Hall to stand. About 70 people stood in support, including Athletic Director Ray Pohlman, about 14 current Perrysburg High School players, coaches, parents, and other community members.
Mr. Hall was not at the meeting, but said later, "I'm very glad the support I got from the community, former players, coaches, administration and students."
He said Mr. Smith's allegations were not new, that he brought them up four years ago after Mr. Hall cut his son from the team in 2010. Perrysburg Schools did an investigation at the time and Mr. Hall was not found of any wrongdoing.
"It is very frustrating, but also humbling having all the support," said the recently retired teacher of 31 years at Perrysburg High. "I'm just glad to still be the coach."
At the school board meeting, eight people spoke on the coach's his behalf, including Anthony Wayne head coach Mark Nell.
Although Mr. Hall's contract was apporved, community members were upset it was in question.
"A great coach's reputation was tarnished," said Karen Fleming. "Bad news spreads more than good news."
Mr. Smith did not discuss his decision during the meeting and did want to comment on why he wanted Mr. Hall considered separately afterward, but did state during the meeting that he had two photos of the Perrysburg team that he would show after the meeting to anyone who was interested.
One of the photos from a Buckeye Cable Sports Network telecast of a Perrysburg baseball game, appeared to show the catcher put down his middle finger in a signal to the pitcher, which appeared to be a signal to hit the batter. The other photo shows the ball heading toward the batter.
He also had a letter from an angry, opposing team's parent that accused Mr. Hall of cursing on the field.
"I don't stand by idle with this going on," Mr. Smith said during a break in the meeting. "Obviously I'm not going to win, not against this," he said of the crowd of Mr. Hall supporters.
Mr. Hall was elected to the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2012. He has won more than 500 games, was named NLL Coach of the Year seven times, and in 2003 and 2011 taken Perrysburg to the state Final Four.