FRANKLIN — The school board says former Franklin High School football coach Greg Husband was not rehired because the board was worried about sanctions to its athletic programs because of alleged unsportsmanlike behavior of his players last fall.
Meanwhile, Husband has hired an attorney to investigate the circumstances that led to the board’s decision to not rehire him. Jim Doyle of the McGrath Law Firm in Concord said he will be “investigating the matter at this point to see what happened.”
Husband said Wednesday he isn’t satisfied with the board’s decision, and he implied that the issue isn’t dead yet.
“I am hopeful that this situation will be resolved as soon as possible,” Husband said.
Husband, who had won two championships in his nine years as coach, was not rehired as the team’s coach in a closed-school board personnel session last month. He was replaced with his assistant coach, Jeff Kaplan.
The school board was acting on a report by the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association on the events following the Nov. 10 Division IV Championship game held at Hanover High School, which Franklin won, 42-22.
After the game, Mascoma team officials filed a complaint against the Franklin team, alleging that Franklin players taunted them and used foul language. An NHIAA investigation into the incident found “clearly inappropriate behavior” that “was not well handled by the Franklin coaching staff” afterward.
The NHIAA informed Franklin school officials that their athletic programs “will be under careful scrutiny in the coming years and that any sportsmanship infractions, even minor instances, will lead to sanctions against the Franklin football program and potentially the entire athletic program.”
School board Chairman Ray Yonaitis said a motion made at the April 15 board meeting, when board member Al Warner directed the superintendent to “engage in hiring a new head football coach who will emphasize the values of personal safety and good sportsmanship in our students.”
“That motion was made because the board’s main concern was the potential sanctions against all of our athletic programs,” Yonaitis said.
Through his lawyer, Husband challenged the board’s decision.
“The actions of one player were inappropriate, but he acted against the team and school policy, and he was disciplined for his behavior by the school administration,” Husband said. “This isolated event was inconsistent with our team’s sportsmanship and character.”
Husband also repeated a question asked by his supporters, some of whom have a video of the end of the game that shows the alleged taunting, which they say was nothing but normal end-of-game activities between rival teams.
“It is unfortunate the school board apparently acted in response to an NHIAA letter which I was not permitted to review and it was based on hearsay, and without a review of the videotape. ... If the tape was reviewed by the (NHIAA) decision makers, I am confident a different decision would have been made.”
“My record for valuing the personal safety of the kids and teaching them good sportsmanship is well-known throughout the community,” he said.