School board rehires coach following suspension

NEW CUMBERLAND-As expected, the Hancock County school board rehired Ian Whittington as Oak Glen High School head football coach on Monday.

Whittington, a 2003 graduate of Oak Glen, was suspended from coaching for the last four games of the 2013 season after a fight broke out following the Oak Glen-Weir High game.

“Believe me,” Whittington told The Review in a recent interview, “watching those last four games from a distance was very hard.”

Whittington’s suspension did not affect his status as a physical education teacher at the high school. An Oak Glen football player also was disciplined following the Oct. 4 fight.

Oak Glen lost to Weir High that day by a score of 23-27 and ended up going 0-10 on the season.

Superintendent Suzan Smith said the decision to hire Whittington for his third season came from Principal Barbara Logue, Athletic Director Phil Rujak and other administrators.

“They make all the coaching selections at the school,” Smith said. “They do all the evaluations and then send the recommendations to the central office.”

Smith said she had no misgivings about Whittington coming back as head football coach, but otherwise declined comment.

In a previous interview, Whittington said, “The past is the past. We can’t change what happened. We just need to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We tell our kids they are responsible for their actions, and the same goes for me. You mess up, you pay the price. You take your punishment and move on.”

The school board made other coaching assignments on Monday, including the following for Oak Glen High School:

* David Smith-boys’ basketball head;

* Patrick McGillian-wrestling head;

* Rance Everly-boys’ track head;

* Mathew Deveaney-baseball head;

* Morgan Martin-girls’ softball head;

* Ethel Riser-girls’ volleyball head;

* Gerald Everly-gold head;

* Larry Shaw-physical fitness I and II; and

* Adam Howell-cross-country head.

For Weir High, the board made the following assignments:

* Anthony Filberto-football head;

* Michael Granato-boys’ basketball head;

* William Smith-girls’ basketball head;

* Tom Taylor-wrestling head;

* Richard Stead-boys’ track head;

* Jeffrey Lewis-girls’ track head;

* Jason Angle-baseball head;

* Carrie Magnone-girls’ volleyball head;

* Joe Smarrella-golf head;

* Sherri Lengthorn-boys’ tennis head;

* David Thompson-girls’ tennis head;

* Jeffrey Lewis-cross-country head;

* Anthony Filberto-physical fitness I;

* Dee Bailey-physical fitness II;

* Jessica Naughton-girls’ soccer head;

* Heather Fairchild-swimming head; and

* Sarah Walter-cheerleading, varsity.

In a related matter, the board accepted the resignation of Oak Glen girls’ basketball coach Scott Wiley, effective March 5.

Smith said, “I wish all the coaches from every sport the very best because it is a difficult job. A very demanding and time-consuming job.”