Coach not being returned for season raises questions in Washington TownshipWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | email@example.com
Kim Kanavel Wurzelbacher was not certain she wanted to volunteer to coach Washington Township girls softball this year. After her daughters, parents and girls that would be on the team, told her how much they wanted her to coach, she made the decision to continue to coach.
Feb. 26, she was told by a member of the Washington Township Girl’s Softball League that she was not going to be selected as a coach for girls softball.
Initially it was stated that Wurzelbacher was not being given a return spot at coaching because she was a “bad role model.” Toledo Free Press spoke to Todd Burgy, commissioner and head of rules and protests on Feb. 27, who said it had nothing to with with that. “It’s issues she’s had with other coaches and board members, this is still being discussed, but at this point she’s not coaching,” Burgy said.
“There’s a process she can go through to appeal the decision,” Burgy said. “It’s not about actions that took place on the field.”
Burgy said that Dan Drummond, assistant commissioner would have more details. Drummond said on Feb. 27, “Bad role model is not the reason. It’s my opinion she’s been a very good coach.” He did not want to share any specific reasons why Wurzelbacher was not being given a coaching spot beyond stating the league was trying to get away from a “win at all costs” mentality.
“The appeal process is up for debate, this is an organizer decision, the organizer decided,” Drummond said. “We appoint coaches yearly, can it be appealed? Don’t know.” He said the appeal process typically revolves around rules or calls that can be protested.
There is a board meeting scheduled for March 2, Drummond said this issue was not on the agenda but he expected it to be discussed as far as could Wurzelbacher protest. The meeting is not open to parents or the public, Drummond said.
“She (Wurzelbacher) needs to call our head organizer, rather than doing that, she’s been organizing parents,” Drummond said. ”I told our head organizer to call me if she heard from her.”
Wurzelbacher said she did speak with the head organizer, Angel Wuest, the morning of Feb. 27. No official reason has been given to her beyond Rule 1.7 being cited. According to the Washington Township Girl’s Softball League, Rule 1.7:
- All coaches are assigned the responsibility of being positive role models for the players. Conduct unbecoming a coach shall be cause for dismissal from this league. Review of such behavior shall be the responsibility of the Rules and Protest Chairperson or Committee and their decision is final.
The questioning of behavior cited as an initial reason was an issue for her since she is a pre-school teacher but she was also concerned about the lack of process.
“I got a phone call from a girl that just took over the league, ‘sorry to give you bad news but you are banned from coaching this year’,” Wurzelbacher said. “I called Angel and left a message, called the old organizer (Don Smay), who told me ‘yep, she told you what she was supposed to’.”
“There has to be something set up, you are creating these rules, but not enforcing them, if it was that bad that I’m banned from coaching, now you come to this decision three days before sign ups,” said Wurzelbacher.
“I have my own rule book, in addition to the league’s rule book, if they talk smack about other teammates they are benched,” she said. “The thing they are picking is not even true, I have these things in black and white, winning is not what’s most important, it’s how you play the game.”
“There are coaches that smoke on the field, that cuss, being banned for something like this,” said Wurzelbacher. “I have coached these girls since first grade, they are now in sixth grade.”
She said she was also told that if she goes to any of the softball games, even ones her daughters are playing in, if she makes a comment or goes anywhere near the field they could make that team forfeit. “Even if I tell my own kids, ‘good play’ they could do this,” Wurzelbacher said.
She said she was told Wuest was going to be coaching her team, Wuest told Toledo Free Press on Feb. 27 that there had been no decision yet that she was aware of as to who would coach. “I’m not sure if I want to talk to you, I’m borderline considering going after him (Michael Kurdys) for harassment, he’s twisting things,” Wuest said. “I don’t think I want to have this conversation.”
Michael Kurdys is a parent of a child who has been coached by Wurzelbacher the past three years. He has been organizing parents and supporters on Facebook to protest the decision by Washington Township Girl’s Softball League. Kurdys and his wife Cindy, stated neither of them had made comments to Wuest that could be viewed as harassment and both took issue with the lack of parental communication and Wurzelbacher being viewed as having a win at all costs mentality.
“We came in 8th place last year, sometimes after a loss the girls cry, the first thing that Kim says, ‘Did everyone have fun, than it doesn’t matter what the score is’,” Kurdys said. “She compliments and congratulates the other team players consistently when they make a good play.”
“She is an excellent role model for young girls to learn from, we had no say in this decision. I would not allow my daughter to be around someone that I didn’t feel added something positive to her life,” Todd Moldenke said. His daughter has been coached by Wurzelbacher for three years as well as been her Girl Scout leader.
“She doesn’t have a win at all costs attitude, I’ve seen her pull the best pitcher out of the game because Kim insists on a smile at the huddle,” Moldenke said.
Wurzelbacher said for her it’s now a matter of principle, she is filing an appeal to protest the decision. Moldenke said ”Parents should have a voice in this, the board should be adults and settle this problem.”
Parents have been told that they will not be allowed to speak at the March 3 team sign up. The Kurdys want a response from the board on this issue.
“We plan on going on Thursday, but we don’t want to donate our registration fee because at this point, our daughter doesn’t want to play, if Kim is not her coach,” Kurdys said.
“Nothing’s broken so why fix it,” Kurdys said. “Kim never asked us to do this, we started this on our own,” Cindy said.