Botkins BOE hears comments about coach

By Patricia Ann Speelman -

BOTKINS — The regular meeting of the Botkins Local Schools Board of Education drew a crowd of more than 60 people for the second month in a row, Wednesday, April 12.

Village residents were out in force, for the most part to voice support for basketball coach Brett Meyer. Four people addressed the board to laud the coach. One, Angie Meyer, of no relation to Brett, said, “Maybe it’s time for a change.”

She noted the basketball team’s 34 percent win rate over the last 14 years and distributed a copy of the schedule her son followed during the summer of 2016, which listed his sports practices.

“On top of that, he had a full-time job. I’ve been told these kids don’t have dedication. They say what you put in you get out. If my kid’s putting in this time and you’re looking at a 34 percent winning record, would you put this time in? Maybe they go on to something else they care about. I think if we had a change, maybe dedication and respect would follow it,” she said.

The four who spoke in favor of the coach talked of when they were players or assistant coaches in his program.

“No one is more suited to raise young men,” said former student Kyle Meyer, also no relation to Brett. “Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it gives you confidence in yourself and in your game. Ten years out, no one gives a crap if you beat Fort Loramie three times in a season or beat the best team in the state.”

Andy Rammel was an assistant to Brett and is now varsity volleyball coach at St. Marys Memorial High School.

“I’ve been a coach for 15 years, the first 10 of them here in Botkins,” Rammel told the board. “Now, I’m a head coach at St. Marys. I have a lot of people to thank and near the top of the list … is Coach Meyer.” Rammel credited the coach with instilling a sense of discipline and commitment.

“Small-minded people measure success on a scoreboard. I think when you measure correctly, the team has been a great success,” he said.

Ryan Gutman also cited statitstics.

“When you look at the Shelby County League — we were 7 and 3 outside of the league. I think it’s unfair to put a 34 percent winning percentage on Coach Meyer. I proudly say he was my coach,” Gutman said.

The Botkins Athletic Boosters made their stand known through Tyler Schmerge, who said the organization had received hundreds of emails from Botkins residents “wanting to support Coach Meyer. We want to show our support for all the coaches we have,” he said.

Dan Butcher was succinct.

“If you don’t like the program, there are open enrollment forms. There’s always a form to move out,” he noted.

Following the comments, the board moved into executive session to discuss personnel issues.

In other business, Wednesday, the board:

• Approved 2017 graduates.

• Authorized membership in the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

• Approved K-6, 7-12, classified, faculty and volunteer handbooks.
• Approved requests for the boys soccer team to attend camp, July 17-19, at Ohio Dominican University; the girls basketball team to attend camp, June 23-24, at Wilmington College; the boys basketball team to attend camp, June 21-22, at University of Findlay; and the FCCLA club to attend its state leadership conference, April 26-28, in Columbus.
• Hired Gina Rogers and Katie Greve as summer school coordinators and tutors; Becky Walters, Kristina Paul, Rob Berryman, Kendra Berryman, Kayla Sherman, Betsy Hammergren, Kristen Hollis, Mariah Hoge and Vicki Steinke as summer school tutors; and Xavier Pax, Dani Schneider, Valerie Christman, Jenna Free, Grace Weatherhead, Jessica Haywood, Connor Stutsman, Elliott Goubeaux, Emma McName, Courtney Sutton, Hannah Ott, Chloe Richardson, Sarah VanBrocklin, Nathan Schneider and Olivia Jones as summer help.
• Accepted a $1,000 donation by First National Bank to support the First National Bank Scholarship.
• Commended FFA students and teams for their placement in district competition.
At the beginning of the meeting, high school Principal Ryan Loy introduced four students who have participated in a trades internship program made possible by a Straight A Grant by the Educational Service Center. Alex Bergman, Caleb Handy, Tanner Russell and Bryce Swank told the board about their experiences as part-time employees of Detailed Machine, Ferguson Construction, Wells Brothers and Slagle Mechanical, respectively. The teens all said the intership program was a good one that should be continued. Following the presentation, Superintendent Jeff McPheron suggested that the district should consider continuing the program even if grant support were not available.

By Patricia Ann Speelman

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.