Ohio HS Coaches Sue Parents for Libel, Slander

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Copyright 2018 Dayton Newspapers, Inc.

Dayton Daily News (Ohio)


TOLEDO - Four members of the varsity basketball coaching staff at Maumee Valley Country Day School say they've had enough.

Head basketball coach Rob Conover and assistants Stanley Hill, Stephen Coleman, and Dontaviyon Flemming are suing four parents who they say have attacked them verbally and in writing despite an independent investigation into the allegations that found no wrongdoing.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, claims the coaches have been slandered and libeled in statements and emails that wrongly claim drug use and criminal charges and made attacks on their "honor and integrity."

"It began with a complaint over playing time for a couple of players - 'You're not playing my son enough,' " said Robert Bahret, a Holland lawyer who filed the complaint. "When they got upset that the coach did not increase playing time of these certain players then it ramped up to 'The coaches are incompetent and need to be replaced. The coaches are criminals and need to be replaced. The coaches don't have proper certification from the state and need to be replaced.' "

The complaint names Lincoln Kynard of Holland, Robert Woodley of Maumee, and Abraham Abouhamed and Dana Zeller, both of Toledo. The lawsuit says that the parents have one or more children enrolled at the private high school and that some of the students played on the basketball team.

They could not be reached for comment.

Bahret said those four parents were the most vocal both at meetings and in sending emails about the coaches. None of the coaches has been reprimanded, demoted, or fired, he said, but some have suffered financially.

Bahret said the assistant coaches who annually run summer basketball camps were denied the right to do so last year because of the allegations. He said they decided to file the lawsuit to let the community know the allegations are lies.

The complaint alleges the coaches were targeted by the parents because of a dispute over playing time involving members of the basketball team.

The lawsuit alleges the parents wrongly stated the coaches falsified records and qualifications they submitted in documents to the Ohio High School Athletic Association for coaching certification.

The attacks, according to the complaint, were made in anonymous emails sent to parents and at a public forum.

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January 22, 2018


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