Mindy Jeffers referred to a hypocritical lynch mob in her Feb. 27 column in The News-Times. I think we need to get the skeletons out of the closet and come clean on what Ed Koester specifically did at Arlington Heights High School. We also need to openly identify the culprits and their motivations for bringing down Ed Koester as football coach at Lakeside High School.
Koester got in trouble for two specific rule infractions in Fort Worth, Texas: He was suspended for playing an over age boy, and for holding off-season football practices. The fact is that the mother of that boy provided a signed affidavit stating her sons age for each of the four years that he played for Koester. When Koester found out that the boy and mother lied, he notified the district and forfeited the first two games of the season. What more can a coach do when a parent lies? Cut the kid in half and count the rings?
The second infraction is also petty, once you hear the facts. Like most schools in Texas, there are summer weight lifting programs for kids. Koester got permission to set one up; however, he made a minor mistake. He broke the kids into groups by those who had lifted before and by those who needed further safety training before lifting. The kids who participated were only grouped by skill level and not by sport.
The reason Koester got suspended for these minor infractions was school politics.
The fact was that the principal in Texas wanted her good friend to be the coach. And oh, by the way, that principal was later fired for falsifying her daughters school records.
So what happened at Lakeside High School? Booster Club President Rick Evans used his powerful connections to Wayne Bridges, chairman of the Columbia County Board of Education, and others to bury Koester. Evans wasnt able to get his son to play as quarterback, but he was able to upset a very good and honorable mans career. Rick Evans told the booster club parents that Koester wasnt a Christian. How can one man claim to be a Christian and wrongfully judge another man? How can we sit by and watch one mans personal agenda bury another mans career?
This couldnt have happened without support from the school board. What does this mean for the future of Columbia County schools and for the next coach and principal at Lakeside High School?
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