Hinsdale Central parents and students attended Monday’s School Board meeting to push the district to hire a new football coach.
Rich Tarka, who was the coach for the past three seasons, was not rehired for the upcoming season. Player registration is May 19 and football summer camp starts June 16.
Several of the people who spoke believed the board somehow was delaying the selection of a new coach.
Betsy Bradley, the mother of a player on the team, said, “Put all the political differences and agendas aside,” and approve the hiring of a new coach.
One man left the meeting, saying angrily, “This is your community. You owe us. You owe it to the students.”
Board member Edward Corcoran said the School Board was not delaying the selection process. No recommendation for the next coach had been brought to the School Board yet, Corcoran said.
Athletic Director Daniel Jones told The Doings they were beginning interviews in April and hope to have someone to recommend to the board by its May 19 meeting.
Superintendent Bruce Law explained the coach the district hires will also be a teacher.
“Job No. 1 is to hire excellent teachers,” Law said. “First and foremost, we teach. We are also concerned about the development of the whole child and athletics is part of that.”
The district still is determining its staffing needs for next school year. How many teachers are needed to teach which courses will affect whom they hire.
Walter Clark, co-president of the Hinsdale Football Club Board, said he did not come to talk about class sizes, property taxes or teacher negotiations, all controversial topics this past year.
Clark talked about the proud tradition of football at Hinsdale Central and its importance to the community at large, and not just the players on the team. The Hinsdale Football Club is comprised of parents and fans who support the football program through fundraising and volunteering.
“We want a new head coach named now,” Clark said.
Pete Morrison, who has a son in the football program, estimated, with the marching band, cheerleaders and pom dance team, about 500 students are involved in one way or another with the football program.
The games also draw some of the largest crowds of any community event, he said.
“Practice starts in a month,” Morrison said. “I’m befuddled by the fact there is no coach.”
Corey Huth, football club co-president, said the football program is “an extension of our child’s education.”
The team and the community also want to win, Huth said, but Hinsdale Central will be behind every other school it plays because it has no head coach yet.
Interim Hinsdale Central Principal Frank Kesman said he and the superintendent were working on staffing and expected to have a decision “in the next day or two.”
When the number and qualifications of the teachers needed are decided, a special board meeting could be called to vote on the hiring of the recommended candidates.