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Dateline: HEBRON, Ohio
It appears that the two great passions of Dave Daubenmire's life -- coaching and preaching -- are incompatible, at least to three of the five board members of Lakewood Local Schools.
The board voted 3-2 Wednesday night to reject Superintendent Jay Gault's recommendation to hire the controversial Daubenmire as Lakewood High School's head football coach.
Daubenmire, 61, has been a provocative figure since 1997 when, as coach of London High School, complaints about him praying with the football team prompted the American Civil Liberties Union to sue the district.
That suit was settled out of court in 1999, and Daubenmire was given another one-year coaching contract with the promise that he'd stop praying with his players. But in early 2000, after leading his team to an undefeated season, he resigned.
Almost immediately, Daubenmire started Pass the Salt Ministries, and later another group, Minutemen United, drawing both followers and critics with his conservative Christian views.
In 2007, Minutemen United drew headlines for interrupting services at churches in Granville and Columbus that welcomed gay members.
He often speaks of manhood and the "sissification" of today's boys.
In a video posted last summer, he said the women's movement came along "because the men withdrew and ran back in the closet and hid behind their wives' skirts."
Many of those things were brought up last night in Lakewood High's gym as 22 members of an audience that exceeded 100 stood to speak to the board. Of those impassioned speakers, nine, including Elyzabeth Holford, the executive director of Equality Ohio, urged the board to vote no.
Thirteen spoke in favor of Daubenmire, many of whom cited his success on the field. He coached at Heath High from 1982 to 1988 before taking over at London, where he coached for the next 11 seasons, guiding that team to the playoffs five times between 1992 and 1999.
Most recently, he started the football program at Fairfield Christian Academy in Lancaster in 2008, going 23-8 with two playoff appearances in his final three seasons before he was fired after the 2012 season, citing a difference of opinion with the administration.
"It's time to get this right," said Mark Nichols, a football booster. "Our kids deserve the best. Hire the best. I believe that's Dave Daubenmire."
Daubenmire, who lives in Hebron and is a Lakewood grad, gave a loud, fiery appeal on his behalf.
Board members Judy White, Trisha Good and Bill Gulick voted against hiring Daubenmire. Tim Phillips and Forrest Cooperrider were in favor of the $5,520 one-year contract.
February 13, 2014