While I was sports editor of The Lincoln Journal, it was my duty to report on the shenanigans of several coaches in that county with regard to students.
What I discovered, nearly ten years ago, was that coaches and some administrators circle the wagons to protect any of their own from danger. These type of coaches and administrators care little that a child’s life may have been ruined in the process. They simply hang together; cover up the facts; and proceed as though nothing happened.
In Lincoln County, some male coaches were engaged in improper relationships with female student/athletes. The proof was always there. Many of the young girls who were the objects of the attacks told me their stories with tears in their eyes. None wanted to later be labeled for having participated — willingly or not — in the activities with coaches. Three or four mothers came forward with their daughters to recount what occurred.
At least one school administrator, the former Hamlin High School principal, Eddie Smith, took his job and responsibilities seriously enough to properly report what he had learned about the incidents. Many others did not. As a result, only one coach was ever charged; a few of the other culprits moved on to coach elsewhere; and some are still firmly installed in their profession in Lincoln.
That is one of the reasons I have applauded West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for instituting action in Mingo County regarding Burch Middle School. I witnessed what happened in Lincoln. Young ladies were terrorized; their coaches, teachers and principals smiled and let it happen. I fear the same is going on at Burch Middle, although the allegations are slightly different.
The record of appointed Mingo Prosecutor Teresa Maynard is that she prosecutes nobody. The U.S. Attorney has identified numerous state crimes committed in the 2012 election process and Maynard has not lifted a finger to indict anyone. Morrisey has stepped in to attempt to force action at Burch MIddle. For that, he is a hero.
It may well be that nobody is guilty of anything at Burch, but it is impossible to tell without proper investigations and concern on behalf of officials. School board members in Mingo, like their counterparts earlier in Lincoln, have generally closed their eyes to any misdeeds.
Coaches and school officials, in Mingo, Lincoln, Boone or anywhere else, should be extra cautious in dealing with their student/athletes. When I see a female Boone County teacher walking arm-in-arm with a male student, I am concerned. When I see a male Fayette County coach rubbing his female player’s leg, I am appalled. Perhaps nothing sinister is envisioned by either figure in authority, but the picture does not look good to the public.
In 2014, such activities should not be condoned or tolerated. Yet they go on. Perhaps two adults in supervisory capacities did not know their own sons were having inappropriate relationships with students. But they should have, if such occurred. The finger of guilt can be pointed in many directions here, but eventually it comes back to those who are in charge of our children.
A teacher or administrator replaces a child’s own parents while school is in session. That teacher or administrator is charged with protecting the student; not abusing him or her.
There is nothing as offensive to a decent human being as knowing that a child has been molested or mistreated by those in authority. I still do not know the whole truth about Burch MIddle, but I think we all deserve to know. And we don’t have to live in Mingo County to be concerned. Everyone in Boone County should be just as interested in the truth as those at Burch.
Morrisey is to be commended for what he has done to bring the truth out in the open. Although this is a juvenile matter and court hearings are closed, the results will be obvious atg some point. This is thanks entirely to Morrisey, who did not sit idly by while Mingo officials fiddled.
I have said it before but will reiterate it here: thank God for Patrick Morrisey.
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WVU Tech womens basketball head Coach Jenna Everhart has announced the signing of Julie Conway. Conway is a graduate of Scott High School. She will join two other signees, Kaitlynn Propst and Brett Justice, to the recruiting class of 2014-15.
Much is expected of Conway, after her years of thrilling Lady Skyhawk fans in Madison.
We will all enjoy watching her develop into the college potential she has in terms of talent and a hard work ethic.
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Williamson native Mark Cline will remain on the Marshall staff as an assistant basketball coach, according to the Williamson Daily News.
Daily News Sports Editor Kyle Lovern landed an exclusive interview with new Herd Head Coach Dan D’Antoni, who told him Cline will remain in Huntington.
Cline, who some thought was the heir apparent to fired Coach Tom Herrion, will lend stability and a West Virginia flavor to the Herd bench.
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Keep the rumors, story ideas, game scores and comments coming. Call my cell, 304-533-5185 or email me at the address listed above.