NEWARK — After a heated meeting Wednesday, the Lakewood Local Schools Board of Education voted 3-2 against hiring outspoken minister Dave Daubenmire as the new varsity football coach.
Board members Forrest Cooperrider and Tim Phillips voted in favor of hiring Daubenmire and members Judy White, Trisha Good and Bill Gulick voted against the move.
All declined comment.
After the meeting, Daubenmire said he was disappointed but not surprised by the result. He read the comments online ahead of time, and he was expecting some strong opposition, he said.
“The sad reality of it is, what those people read online is about the direct opposite of who I am,” Daubenmire said. “It’s sad, (but) the school board made their decision. I believe they did what their hearts told them to do.”
District officials have repeatedly declined to say who the other candidates were for the job. It is unclear when another recommendation might be made.
Daubenmire is a 1971 Lakewood graduate and founder of Pass the Salt, a ministry dedicated to bringing together Christians to be the salt and light of the world, as is stated in the Book of Matthew.
He is a former head football coach at Heath High School and Fairfield Christian Academy, but he is perhaps best known for his time coaching at London High School, where the American Civil Liberties Union accused him of mixing religion with teaching and coaching.
More than 20 people spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting Wednesday. Some accused Daubenmire of being a bully, anti-gay and a poor role model for children. Others said he is a great coach and father and an even better mentor. At several points, school board president Judy White had to remind the crowd to keep order and allow people to express their opinions.
Tara Houdeshell was first to take the floor. The Lakewood graduate, resident and mother of four got a standing ovation mixed with boos when she told the school board Daubenmire is a liability the district cannot afford.
“Mr. Daubenmire’s work experience speaks for itself,” Houdeshell said. “Why would our district knowingly accept such a liability?”
Houdeshell said it is school officials’ job to protect allstudents, and hiring Daubenmire would go against that.
“Will Mr. Daubenmire build the confidence of gay young men hoping to play Lakewood football?” she asked. “Will Dave Daubenmire teach his athletes to respect others when he publicly promotes bullying and admonishes homosexuality? … My kids deserve better from you. As a mom and taxpayer, I expect more of you. … I beg of you to vote no.”