Thursday’s East Liverpool Board of Education meeting had a very contentious attitude at the start, but boredom finally took over as the board met with concerned citizens in executive session for more than two hours. It appeared that the primary focus of the discussion was whether or not to rehire Todd Smith as varsity wrestling coach.
Smith has been the Potters’ wrestling coach for the past two seasons, but no decision was made on a wrestling coach at the meeting.
There are four applicants for the post.
“We want to get it done as soon as possible and have the hiring done correctly,” said high school principal Jack Cunningham on the hiring of a grappling coach. “We also want to do what is in the best interests of the kids.”
There were four head coaches hired including Tony Tomaselli as the new girls varsity basketball coach.
Tomaselli, who is a veteran AAU coach, is looking forward to his new position.
“What interested me in the position was that there was some talent that could be brought out,” said Tomaselli. “What concerns me right off the bat is that we are losing three starters and over 50 percent of our scoring and the majority of our rebounds.”
With a new coach, there will be a new system for the girls to learn. However, Tomaselli is familiar with the players as his daughter Brittany is a returning varsity letterwinner, who was honorable mention All-Ohio in Division II this past year. Plus, he coached the incoming seniors when they were on the freshmen team.
“It will take them a while to get used to the new system,” said the new coach. “We want to bring enthusiasm back into the program.”
Tomaselli replaces J.R. Walker, who compiled a 75-90 record in eight seasons at the helm. This year’s team finished with a 10-10 record.
“J.R. committed a great deal of time and effort into building the program into what it is now,” the new girls basketball coach said. “We want to continue to emphasize fundamentals and help the program to grow even more.”
“Tony was the athletic committee’s decision as being the most qualified for the job,” said Cunningham.
“The best way to categorize our team, as of right now, would be as a work in progress,” Tomaselli said. “Just because we’re coming out of the MAC (Metro Athletic Conference), doesn’t mean that our schedule is going to be any easier. In fact, it might be even harder. It sure won’t be a cakewalk.”
Boys varsity basketball coach Matt Cashdollar’s contract was renewed after his initial Potter team went 5-16.
“We want to give him time to implement his program and a chance to see his kids improve,” Cunningham said.
Michael McDougle was hired as the varsity girls soccer coach and Dawn Pipo was hired as varsity cheerleading advisor.
“It was very important for us to get these coaches hired as they need to get their summer programs in order, especially cheerleading” said Cunningham. “The girls hadn’t had tryouts as we didn’t know for certain who the coach was going to be.”