LOGAN, Utah — Concerns about a recent decision affecting the Logan High School lacrosse program prompted a group of parents and players to petition the Logan City School District to reinstate the lacrosse head coach at the Board of Education meeting Tuesday evening.
“We’re feeling that the boys’ best interests and the program’s best interests are absolutely not being thought through and thought of in this decision,” said Kimberleigh Hadfield, a parent of an LHS lacrosse player.
The group, concerned about how head coach Mark Stokes’ departure could affect the athletes and the program, said they had already spoken with school officials, including LCSD Superintendent Frank Schofield.
“We plan to go and present our case to the district, because we’ve already met with the superintendent and principal last week,” Hadfield said prior to the meeting. “We were not listened to.”
According to Schofield, their concerns were heard and he is working with the administration to identify the best transition plan for the new coach and the athletes.
“We understand the frustrations that come when there’s a change in a coach,” Schofield said. “We are committed to identifying what is the best thing we can do that’s in the best interest of students to promote their success now and long-term.”
The school board declined to address personnel issues during the meeting, and parents have posted online that they haven’t been given a reason for Stokes’ dismissal.
One of the main concerns the parents have is the psychological impact the change might have on the athletes, especially after the loss of the football coach in February, the recent loss of their athletic director and the loss of some of their classmates.
“A lot of our boys have been under psychological stress, and I feel that that needs to be understood,” Hadfield told the board. “It’s just been extremely psychologically distressing to have so many people that they have come to love leave them at our school.”
Another trend parents see and hope to stop is coaches leaving and being hired at nearby rival schools.
“These are their former coaches and they play their former kids,” Hadfield said, “thereby adding salt to the wound of these kids that are trying to survive in their own high school.”
Lacrosse player Trevor Bodily said the effects of the loss of the football coach were evident in his classmates, but he said playing lacrosse with a coach they trusted helped them bounce back.
“With the recent decision about lacrosse, it kind of put them more down,” Bodily said. “I felt like that’s not right. I was looking forward to spending my senior year at Logan High to play lacrosse with the coach, and now I’m just confused on why he was let go.”
Schofield said one of the benefits of the new coach is that he is a teacher, opening opportunities for the new coach to work with teachers in the classroom to promote academic eligibility for the athletes, working with the administration on attendance and other issues.
“For all of those reasons, our experience has shown the value to have our coaches be teachers on our staff whenever possible,” Schofield said. “We had a situation where we were able to do that.”
Schofield said administrators will do what they can to address the concerns while working with the new coach.
“We’ll be planning a transition plan with the new coach to be able to work with players and parents in ways that’ll address those concerns that have been expressed to us,” Schofield said.
The group started a petition last week asking for the reinstatement of Stokes on the LHS Lacrosse Program. As of Tuesday evening, the petition had gathered more than 300 signatures.
“We’re not going away,” said Sonya Marcum, a LHS lacrosse parent. “We’re not going to fizzle out.”