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Head football coach resigns


The status of Lake Roosevelt High School’s varsity football coaching position was clouded last week when Geary Oliver resigned as head coach under unusual circumstances.

Oliver had already been issued his contract for this fall, but was asked to resign because the district had indicated it wanted to go in a “different direction.”

The football coaching position was the subject of a closed session of the school board on July 11, and in spite of the fact his contract had already been approved, the board left it up to Athletic Director Richard Black to talk with Oliver to see if he would gracefully step down.

The board wanted to exercise its right and privilege to advertise and likely offer the position to a teacher/coach, following the assumption that having the position on staff would give the coach more daily contact with his players and perhaps give the coach an opportunity to keep a watchful eye on the player’s academic side.

Oliver, in a letter to this paper last week and in a later statement, acknowledged that the board was well within its right to do what was done.

Oliver said he had been a faithful football coach, occupying a number of positions over some 16 years, including the head job.

However, he disagreed with the board’s decision to go in a “different direction.” He pointed out that of seven seasons when the Raider football team had won at least half their games, he was involved with five.

In a statement Monday, Superintendent Paul Turner said: “I want to thank coach Oliver for the commitment he has made to the LR football program over the years. Many players have been positively affected by his strong leadership. The change in the head football coach position made by the district should not, and in the eyes of the district does not, reflect negatively on coach Oliver’s tenure with the district. As a point of clarification, our school board was seeking a letter of resignation from coach Oliver to validate his intention to resign; not to force him from the head football coaching position.”

The district’s coaching duties have frequently gone to “community” coaches, those not tied to the schools in any way other than coaching.

Turner and Black both indicated that the position would be advertised right after a new athletic director was hired. Those interviews are currently going on as 12 people have applied for the position.

The advertisement for the open football and basketball head coaching positions will soon follow.

Oliver said he had a simple, but seemingly effective, philosophy, to get players to buy into the team concept. He taught them to “respect themselves, believe in themselves and sacrifice for their teammates.” He asked them to “compete and have fun.”

Oliver’s $2,500 contract for fall had been approved along with a score of others at a meeting earlier in the summer.

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