On Tuesday, Morgan Cotter resigned as head football coach at Marysville High School. His decision to leave may not have been totally voluntary on his part. It’s no secret that the football team has not done well the past couple of years and when losses outnumber wins, it’s the coach that gets the blame.
It’s also no secret that Dublin Coffman, Hilliard Davidson and Upper Arlington have dominated the football conference that includes Marysville for the last 10 years, but football isn’t the only sport at MHS to have had lackluster seasons. Every other sport, both boys and girls, has had its ups and downs over the same period of time.
Years ago there was glory in being a star athlete for the Monarchs or even being on the starting squad. It was a noted achievement to win the big game. Are those days gone? It seems so in Marysville.
Lets look inside the high school walls to see where the real fault lies.
The culture at the Marysville High School has been in decline for several years. To stem the tide of turnover in leadership last year, Tom Cochran was hired as principal and Stacie Hahn was named athletic director. Both represent the third person hired in their respective positions in the last five years.
Although Cochran has not been successful in his goal to change the negative culture that exists within the high school, Marysville senior Evan Etherington seems to have made some headway. In an article recently in the Journal-Tribune, Etherington, talked about how his fellow classmates seems disconnected and described his plan to try to create an atmosphere where they can communicate without a cellphone. He came up with different ideas to gather his classmates together before school started. Many came away thinking how creative Etherington has been in working toward his goal. Others have said his endeavors have shown that the culture inside the high school is still a problem … where MHS students feel alone and less important when compared to STEM school students … where teachers feel like they are substandard because Supt. Diane Mankins’ focus is so much on the STEM school. Is this a growth mindset?
We think the lack of administrative support has spilled over to athletics as well. The cultural shift is underscored by the edict coming from Mankins that she wanted sports to be cost neutral to the school system. In other words, no money from operating funds would be earmarked for athletics including coaching salaries. Money would have to be raised from booster groups or parents.
To prove this point, Cotter, the first head coach not hired as a teacher at Marysville, had to sign on a loan himself in order to get new weight equipment for the school. So he bent over backwards for the program even though he didn’t have the same chance others before him had by being a teacher inside the school and able to interact with the students and develop a relationship with them outside football.
Perhaps a more positive outlook toward sports by the administration would help accomplish this struggle to bring a culture of continuity back to Monarch Country.
It might also help reverse the turnover trend that has seen many good local people walk out the door.
One thing is certain. If systemic changes are not implemented throughout the district, any new football coach hired will be set up to fail.
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