Who the heck is in charge of the football program at Canton McKinley? You’ll find the answer is surprising. The three women recently elected to the Canton Board of Education are in control. Earlier this week they voted to fire head football coach Ron Johnson, even though the superintendent and principal recommended renewing his contract. The athletic director also supported the coach.
Canton Repository reporter Todd Porter provided background earlier this weeek. Johnson’s four-year record at Canton McKinley was 31-16. His teams were in the playoffs all four years and beat arch-rival Massillon the last three years in a row. What was not to like? His choice of starting quarterbacks, that’s what.
In December, 2010, Johnson stated that his starting quarterback for the 2011 season would be Reid Worstell, a white kid.
Supporters of Tyler Foster, a black quarterback, were outraged. Canton McKinley fans have been racially divided ever since.
As it turned out Worstell transferred to Canton GlenOak for last season and Foster inherited the Canton McKinley job, after all, and did spectacularly. Foster led McKinley to a 9-3 record and was named the Canton Repository “Player of the Year.” The newspaper also named Johnson its “Coach of the Year.” None of this appeased the Foster camp. There was still much unhappiness in Canton because of the way it happened. Reporter Todd Porter talked to the school board members.
Lisa Gissendaner, one of the three new board members who voted to fire the coach, pointed out that Foster would not have played if Worstell had not transferred.
Ida Ross-Freeman, another new board member, complained that when coach Johnson selected Foster to play in a high school all-star game in Florida two months ago, he texted the good news to the quarterback. Ross-Freeman said he should have told the boy’s mother. Ross-Freeman noted that the coach and the quarterback’s mother had a contentious relationship.
The three new board members issued a warning. It no longer would be business as usual in Canton. They were not a rubber stamp board.
It turns out that the football coach had woman problems.
Some people wonder how many qualified coaches will apply for the position at Canton McKinley if pleasing the new sheriff is paramount to winning games.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned.