MEDINA – Parents and players spoke out in defense of Medina High baseball head coach Nick Kaplack and asked he remain as coach during a Medina School Board meeting Monday (Nov. 18).
Kaplack was placed on paid administrative from his supplemental coaching contract due to “ongoing performance issues,” according to a district statement. This action, which was effective Oct. 18, does not affect his position as a high school science teacher.
Supporters during the public comment portion of the meeting said Kaplack, who has served as head coach since 2005, has been subject to “vicious rumors” by members of the Medina Youth Baseball Association who are tarnishing his reputation. Kaplack previously served as a youth baseball coach for the organization.
“There has been no communication with Nick about the letters and emails against him,” said Pat O’Brien, a longtime MHS lacrosse coach and teacher who retired in 2014. “Nick Kaplack is a great coach.”
O’Brien said he experienced a similar situation himself in 2001 when he ran into issues with the youth lacrosse program but remained after being supported by the principal and athletic director.
“We do not have control over what parents say about us as coaches,” O’Brien said. “The clatter from those people out there needs to be put down.”
Mike McMullen, former MHS baseball coach before Kaplack, said removing him would be a mistake.
Bishop Birch, one of Kaplack’s youth players, said Coach Kaplack helps him improve while making him feel better when he doesn’t succeed.
“He helps me win, I struggle in baseball, he helped me swing and keep my eyes on the ball,” Birch said. “He makes me confident when I struck out.”
Nearly a dozen people spoke during public comment, all of whom were in favor of Kaplack.
Superintendent Aaron Sable said afterward he could not comment on the situation as the district was dealing with a personnel issue against Kaplack. The board later met in private executive session to discuss personnel, including complaints against an employee.
Veteran’s Day essay contest
Hundreds of middle school students throughout the district wrote about what Veteran’s Day meant to them as part of an essay contest sponsored by the local American Legion chapter.
Gabriella Miller, the first-place winner for sixth grade, said in her essay she is grateful to veterans because of the personal sacrifices they often must make.
“Some member of the military aren’t even able to be there for their children’s birth,” she said. “I know I could never be brave enough to be that far away from my family or be brave enough where I could go out and be killed or seriously injured.”
Other students spoke about relatives they know who have served, including Eddie, the 100-year-old great-great veteran uncle of Gavin Janik, the third-place winner in sixth grade. He added he was proud when his uncle Mark, an Army veteran, came to a Veteran’s Day assembly at his school one year.
A total of 324 sixth through eighth graders at both Claggett and Root middle schools submitted essays, which were all read by district staff and American Legion members.
Dave Taylor, chapter president, said this is one of their “heart and soul” initiatives, which also included members providing over 300 American flags to ensure each district classroom had one.
“These initiatives will have lasting impact, we will have to keep them going,” he said.
Contest winners who spoke included sixth graders Miller (first place), Andrew Zeisel (second place), Janik (third place) and Cooper Nunn (honorable mention). Morgan Deeringer, first place in seventh grade, also spoke, in addition to eighth-graders Jeff Robinson (first place), Morgan Heaton (second place) and Raven Kline (third place).
Sable said the Ohio Facilities Construction Committee recently completed a 750-page report on the district’s 11 student buildings, which included recommendations on where upgrades should be made.
The OFCC Committee, which consists of administrators and two board members, are currently analyzing the report.
He said he would give a formal presentation on the report at the board’s work session on Dec. 2 and more information will become publicly available soon. While there were preliminary discussions about closing a building (Garfield Elementary has been suggested due to low enrollment), no decisions about any building closures will occur without public input.
Sable said the report does show the district will have to do some redistricting within the next few years; while overall enrollment is projected to remain relatively stable, student numbers are rising in the outer areas of the district due to new construction.
A video from Sable on the topic was posted Monday on the district’s homepage at medinabees.org.