Hesperia Divided Over Firing of Coach

Posted at 5:59 PM, Nov 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-01 18:11:54-04

HESPERIA, Mich. — The community of Hesperia is divided on the issue of who should coach the high school’s wrestling team. The Hesperia school board voted 5-2 in May to remove Coach Doug Baird as head coach of the team after two instances involving students came to their attention.

One situation involved teammates smoking pot  while out of town with the team.  Another incident involved a student who claimed he was intentionally  punched in the groin by a teammate.

“He was told on school property about an incident regarding a student, in confidence and he never reported it to either the authorities or to his superior,” said School Board Vice President Matt Joppich.

Joppich voted in favor of replacing Baird on the coaching staff. Joppich is now up for recall alongside another board member on Tuesday.

“My priorities are student security and academic performance, and anything that is not in line with those types of philosophies needs to be addressed,” said Joppich.

Coach Baird’s friend Patrick Broton, who also coaches the middle school cross country team, said wrestling is one of Baird`s biggest passions.

“By losing the wrestling position, he was devastated. I mean he just throws his heart and soul into every project that he does,” said Broton.

No matter which side community members are on, both sides agree it`s the hot topic in town.

“It’s dominated the day-to-day conversation and there’s just so many more important things to talk about in regards to students’ education. It’s a bit disappointing that this has taken such a focal point,” said Joppich.

The recall election is set to take place on Tuesday.