The two coaches will share duties equally under the new arrangement.
By KATIE LIBECCO
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- After a six-hour executive session that lasted into the early hours of Thursday, the Canfield school board voted to hire an additional varsity softball coach.
The decision came after a group of about 25 people, including parents of current and former Canfield High softball players, urged the board not to renew the contract of the current coach, Fred Mayhew.
Ronnie Haurin, who coaches the volleyball team and is a physical education teacher at the school, will be added to the softball coaching staff next season.
Both she and Mayhew, who has coached the team since 2000, were hired by a unanimous vote of the board.
Mayhew led his 2005 team to a 20-5 record and the district championship final. But the parents who came to Wednesday night's meeting expressed concerns about what they described as harsh treatment of players and coaching methods, and asked the board to reconsider rehiring him, a matter that was not originally on the board's agenda for the meeting.
But supporters of Mayhew say that's not an accurate portrayal of the coach.
"He's very competitive, but he also realizes it's just a game," said Tom Porter, who hosted an informal gathering of the coach's supporters at his home Thursday night. His daughter was a sophomore on this year's team.
"Players have to work hard, but my daughter says everyone is treated fairly, and that's what it's all about," he said.
One of Jim Tomaino's daughters also plays on the team and another daughter is a former player.
"We support him 100 percent," Tomaino said. "We've never seen any situation where he anything but a gentleman, on or off the field."
Junior varsity softball coach Ed Moore also endorsed his colleague.
"I can't think of one thing he's done to cause all of this," he said. "This man is a class act."
Mayhew, who is also a minister for a local church, said in a phone interview with The Vindicator that he has been fair in his treatment of players. About 25 girls are in the softball program, which includes the varsity and junior varsity teams.
"When I took that job six years ago I promised the athletic director at the time, I promised the players and God that I would always be fair, I wouldn't allow myself to get involved in community politics," he said. "If I hadn't kept that promise, I wouldn't be here today. I have nothing to gain, but I've taken a stand for what's right."
Mayhew will not receive a decrease in pay as a result of the decision. The varsity coaching positions will be an equal partnership between Haurin and Mayhew, each earning $5,097, school officials said.
"Every principal, teacher and coach has supporters and detractors," Superintendent Dante Zambrini said regarding the parents who attended Wednesday's night meeting.