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CAB School Board VP Wade Beatty Filtered Through Every Resume to Insure Head Basketball Coach Search Process Wasn't Tainted
July 4, 2007 - Charles A. Beard School Corporation board members were scheduled to vote on a recommendation by the search committee for a new Knightstown High School basketball coach at their meeting Tuesday night.
The results of that vote were not available for publication in The Banner by press time due to an early July 4 holiday printing schedule. However, the newspaper learned some time ago that John Howe, the head coach at New Washington High School, would be the committee’s recommendation for the job at KHS.
The search process utilized by the school corporation has been called into question by many people within the community over the past few weeks. The committee, consisting of nine members appointed by Superintendent Dr. David McGuire, interviewed five candidates before settling on one recommendation for board members.
Concerns of many centered around the process in which applicants were eliminated by KHS principal Jim Diagostino and vice-principal Dan Jack, both of whom, like McGuire, have resigned. Diagostino and Jack went through the applications and discarded all but the final six they sent to the committee, raising eyebrows among many in the community since neither man planned on being around when the appointment would be made.
Adding to that controversy was the cloud of secrecy surrounding the members of the committee, who not only chose to keep mum about the process, but also elected not to reveal who participated on the committee. Other problems included an alleged prerequisite that the new coach have previous varsity experience, while two of the five finalists for the job did not qualify. One is a current varsity assistant at Anderson Highland, and the other coaches junior varsity ball at Indianapolis Roncalli. While concerned parents and fans were discussing the controversial manner of that selection process, the stickiness of the situation didn’t escape the eye of one school board member.
Wade Beatty, current vice-president of the school board, didn’t feel comfortable with the process, and acted on that instinct.
In a recent interview, Beatty answered questions about the process, the tight lips, and how confident he is in the recommendation sent to school board members.
Banner: With Diagostino and Jack both leaving the school, should they have been the people whittling the candidates down to a final six? What assurances do we have that the committee saw the best candidates?
Beatty: “I wasn’t comfortable with the committee just seeing the applicants they (Diagostino and Jack) provided,” Beatty said. “I went through every application personally, spending two evenings going through all of the packets before the interviews were conducted. I was happy. Using the criteria, which required hiring a teacher that could coach basketball, I don’t think they passed over anyone. From a school board standpoint, we wanted a health and physical education teacher first, and we also wanted a good basketball coach. We got both.”
Banner: If two of the final five candidates had no varsity coaching experience, why didn’t current JV Coach Justin Linch receive an interview?
Beatty: “Prior head coaching experience was not a prerequisite. The ability to be a health and physical education teacher at KHS was. We were hiring a physical education teacher first, and a basketball coach second. That eliminated Justin from contention.”
Banner: Why was the process kept so secret?
Beatty: “I’ll take responsibility for that. I facilitated the interviews from the school board’s standpoint. The committee kept things quiet because those were my instructions. We wanted to notify the candidates who didn’t get the job, as well as the one who did. I don’t know why some other aspects of the committee were kept confidential. I assume that was done by the people who appointed the committee.”
Banner: Is the guy the committee is recommending the right man for the job?
Beatty: “The man we are recommending scored the highest in all of the categories. He qualifies in meeting our education requirements, and he is a good basketball coach who I believe will fit in well here. From a school board standpoint, I would say we got exactly what we wanted.”
Other committee members were just as confident in the recommendation. Football Coach Bob Prescott, baseball Coach Donnie Martin and Business Manager David Bundy, all members of the search committee, expressed confidence in the choice.
“I feel very good about the entire process,” Bundy said. “I think it all came together very well and the committee worked together to make a good recommendation.”
Board members were expected to vote on the committee’s recommendation at Tuesday night’s monthly meeting.
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