COLUMBIANA - Despite having his contract renewed by the board of education earlier this month, some district parents are still speaking out about Scott Knox's behavior as head baseball coach.
The parents are disappointed their concerns didn't sway the board's decision, and believe Knox's behavior on the field is inappropriate.
A letter from Amy Tardio was given to school officials after the recent meeting in which Knox's coaching contract was renewed. Tardio has a son in the baseball program and wrote in the letter that Knox's behavior should "not be tolerated."
"My concern with the Columbiana High School Baseball program is the bullying and disrespect shown by Coach Kohler and Coach Knox to our boys," she wrote.
Gary Kohler coached the district's travel baseball team this summer and Tardio's freshman son was a part of that team. He plans to play baseball next year.
Tardio said her eldest son "walked away from baseball" because he didn't want to play under Knox.
Knox is a Columbiana graduate who has led two teams to the state final four in Columbus during his 15-year high school coaching career. He took Columbiana to the state in 2010 and Boardman in 2001.
He has coached at the high school the last six years while also working as a physical education teacher at Boardman High School.
Knox is aware of the complaints against him and has declined to comment on those complaints - specifically those regarding his promptly leaving the playing field after a Clippers loss.
When given the opportunity to respond last week, his only comment was that he is looking forward to the upcoming year.
Of himself and his coaching staff, Knox said, "We have full support from our administration, we have great kids from Columbiana. I'm extremely excited and looking forward to getting started shortly. We just want to keep it positive."
Board member Tony Roncone was the only one who voted against the new contract. He didn't offer comment during the meeting and did not return a phone call last week.
Carrie Rayl, who attended the board meeting in which Knox was awarded the contract, said it's embarrassing for the team when Knox leaves the field without speaking to them.
She and her ex-husband, Steve Miner, have a son in the baseball program.
"Nobody disputes that Scott Knows knows baseball, but my issue is the fact that there is a way to speak to kids. There is a way to interact with other coaches, umpires, faculty and staff, and I'm not sure by the information I have received from former players and my son that it has always been appropriate," Miner said.
Tardio, her husband Anthony and Rayl all said that their concern with Knox was not his knowledge of the game, but how he reacts to losses and his conduct around their children.
Rayl said she is "disheartened" by the board's decision. She also said she has "nothing personal against Knox" but thinks he should be more aware of how his behavior affects the players.
"I'm certainly not saying he's not a good person, but at times he needs to think about how he's handling what is going down," she said.
Brian Patrick, who was at the board meeting with his wife Michelle, believes less students are participating in the sport because of Knox.
"We are losing kids after sophomore season ... the numbers are just dwindling," he said.
Patrick has coached youth baseball the last 12 years and has two sons in the program.
Superintendent Don Mook and board members who approved the hiring said they did so in part because until now they had not heard of any complaints about Knox's behavior.