An investigation into the Strongsville High School basketball program has ended with no evidence that Head Coach Joe Lynch bullied or abused players.
A news release from Superintendent John Krupinski says the investigation, launched after several parents complained about the program at an Aug. 16 school board meeting, turned up no proof that Lynch acted inappropriately.
"Based on the results of the investigation, no evidence of bullying or abuse was substantiated," the release says.
Lynch did not comment publicly on the probe, other than to say the allegations were "absolutely not" true.
"I think this investigation has established that," he said. "What was represented (by the parents) is not what was happening."
Parents asked school officials to look into the basketball program, saying many talented students have chosen not to play for Lynch because of his negative, abusive attitude.
"Our students should be playing the game they love and not leaving it because of a negative climate," said parent John Psellas, whose son left the team.
The parents said Lynch and his assistant coaches call the kids offensive names, criticize their playing, fail to provide enough conditioning and rarely offer any praise.
Krupinski quickly started an investigation, saying any time abuse is alleged, the district must take it seriously.
"They (parents) mentioned verbal and psychological abuse," Krupinski told Strongsville Patch in late August. "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.
He said the district hired legal counsel, who interviewed students and parents about the concerns.
The news release indicates the matter is closed and that Lynch -- a 37-year baskeball coach who was honored in 2009 for his 500th win -- will remain at the helm of the SHS program.
"Good luck to the Varsity Mustang Basketball Team and Coach Joe Lynch for the upcoming season," it says.
Lynch said he was not nervous about the investigation because he knew the claims were not valid.
"Now I'd like to just get on with basketball," he said.