Tallmadge -- The Board of Education for Tallmadge City Schools has hired a new high school boys basketball coach for next season.
The Board voted Wednesday to approve the supplemental duty contract for Mike Bluey to replace Aaron Hinkle, who has been the team's coach for two seasons. None of the Board members commented during the meeting about why they cast their votes as they did.
Before hiring Bluey, the Board voted not to renew all one-year supplemental duty contracts for employees throughout the district for the 2013-14 school year, which Superintendent Jeff Ferguson said is an annual standard procedure.
He said after the contracts are up, the positions are reposted for five days so that interested employees inside the school district can apply. If no suitable candidates are found, the school district can open the jobs to outside applicants.
Ferguson said two internal candidates applied for the coaching job, both were interviewed and the school administration recommended one of them -- Bluey -- to the Board.
Ferguson declined to disclose further details about why the school district didn't want to renew Hinkle's contract, saying he can't talk about personnel matters outside of a Board executive session.
About 10 people appeared to be at the meeting in support of Hinkle.
Pausing to fight back tears between sentences of a written statement he read to the Board before it voted, Hinkle, a Uniontown resident and teacher for Green Local Schools, said he was informed April 3 his contract wouldn't be renewed.
"I'm very disappointed to not have the opportunity to continue building the program that we laid the foundation for the previous two years," he read. "It saddens me, and the members of my staff, to not have the chance to build on the positive relationships we've established with our players and parents of the community ... "
He declined the Tallmadge Express' request for further comment about why his contract wasn't renewed.
Bluey, a physical education teacher at Munroe Elementary School, wasn't present during the meeting.
Todd Taylor, assistant boys basketball coach for Green Local Schools, said he has known Hinkle as a coach and friend for about 10 years. He was one of three people who addressed the Board in support of Hinkle before it voted. Later, he told the Tallmadge Express it appears "there's no concrete reason" for the Board not to renew Hinkle's contract and that's why Hinkle and his supporters are upset.
"Basically, when it comes down to it, it's a difference of opinion of how to run a [basketball] program, a difference in philosophy in coaching," he said.
He also said he knows Bluey and believes he'll do well with the team because of the foundation Hinkle and his staff have laid with developing the team's players over the years.
"I think Mike [Bluey] will do a nice job. I have a lot of respect for Mike," Taylor said.
After the Board made its decision to hire Bluey, Board President Rick Kellar spoke directly to Hinkle and his supporters, thanked them for their perspectives throughout the decision making process and told Hinkle he appreciated his work as a coach.
"I want to thank the folks that came tonight. I know it's probably not the ideal outcome you wanted," he said.
The Tallmadge High School boys basketball team had a record of 16 wins and 29 losses while Aaron Hinkle was the head coach. For the 2011-12 season, the team's record was nine wins and 12 losses, and for 2012-13, the team ended the season with seven wins and 17 losses.
Mike Bluey's coaching career:
-Assistant boys basketball coach, Kennedy Catholic High School in Sharon, Penn. (Golden Eagles), 1994-99. The team won Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class A Championships during the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons.
-Head coach boys varsity basketball, Springfield High School in Lakemore (Spartans), 2000-03.
-Assistant coach boys basketball, Jackson High School in Massillon (Polar Bears), 2005-11. In 2010, the team earned the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I State Championship.
For more, see the April 21 edition of the Tallmadge Express.