Investigation into Lynch, SHS Basketball Moving Forward
Probe will look into charges that coach verbally abused players and runs a program that's too negative
An investigation into the Strongsville High School basketball program continues this week, with school officials setting up meetings with parents and students to look into allegations of verbal abuse from coaches.
Parents also have come forward with claims that a "negative environment" is causing players to leave the team.
Superintendent John Krupinski said the district has met with its lawyer and will now arrange interviews with parents and students who have levelled the complaints, then with those who support long-time head coach Joe Lynch.
"It goes both ways," Krupinski said. "We're going to hear both sides."
Several parents at an Aug. 16 School Board meeting complained to school officials that their sons -- and other boys they know -- are choosing not to play on the SHS basketball team because they are tired of excessive name-calling and criticism.
"Our students should be playing the game they love and not leaving it because of a negative climate," parent John Psellas said.
The investigation will look into two things:
• Whether the program, under Lynch, is suffering because it has become too negative.
• If Lynch is guilty of verbally abusing players.
The second part stems from one parent's comments at the Aug. 16 board meeting. George Metrakos said the players were being "verbally and mentally" abused by the coaches.
"They (parents) mentioned verbal and psychological abuse," Krupinski said. "Once those terms are brought up, we're required to investigate what took place."
Krupinski said the investigation was launched both "in regard to the complaint (of abuse) and also the program" itself.
Decision Expected Soon
Lynch, who has coached basketball for 37 years, has not commented on the investigation.
In December 2009, he was recognized for his 500th career win. He is also the former SHS athletic director.
His contract for this school year has already been approved.
Athletic Director Paul Moses said after the Aug. 16 meeting that he expected the high schools programs to "promote a positive atmosphere."
Krupinski said he wants to wrap up the investigation within the next few weeks so the issue is settled before early workouts start in October.