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Published: Wednesday, 1/9/2013

Lake coach denies drop in morale, profane talk

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Suspended Lake High School basketball coach Gregory Noftz lost the respect of his players, used profanity at practices, and once cursed at an official in a game, according to school records.

Mr. Noftz denies the allegations.

School officials would not specifically address the reasons for suspending Mr. Noftz for the remainder of the season, but records in the coach's personnel file indicate problems began to surface last year.

Mr. Noftz's personnel file, which was obtained by The Blade yesterday, says nine players did not return from last year's squad, including a student who transferred to Genoa High School.

It also says Mr. Noftz:

  • Had problems with team morale - specifically, lack of discipline and respect for him.

  • Used profanity while talking to an official Dec. 16 in the game against Woodmore High School.

  • Used profanity on the bench during games and practices.

  • Failed to renew his first-aid certification.

  • Failed to provide team statistics to the media for the week of Jan. 5.

  • Failed to keep accurate records on fund-raising activities by team members. “This is a continuing problem from last year. There is no way of knowing how much money Greg is responsible for collecting.”

    Mr. Noftz, who was in his second year as coach of the Flyers, was suspended Jan. 16 “for failure to comply with administrative directives.”

    He will keep the $4,503 he is paid for coaching and continue his teaching duties. He is a physical education teacher at the district's elementary schools.

    At the Lake Local board of education meeting Monday, supporters of the coach demanded to know the reasons for the midseason suspension.

    About 50 people who attended the meeting were told by Tim DeLong, board president, that board policy prevents personnel matters from being discussed in public.

    “That list of items was put into my personnel file after the fact. Prior to my suspension, there was nothing in my file of a negative nature. There was nothing in my file prior to my suspension that said I was not doing my job as head basketball coach at Lake High School,” Mr. Noftz said.

    “The list came after the facts. The document is very untrue. There is no truth to the document. There are a lot of rumors out there. A lot of things are being said that are very untrue.”

    In addressing the items given for the suspension, Mr. Noftz denied using profanity at the Dec. 16 game. He admitted badgering the official. “I didn't use any profanity at all during the Woodmore game. There are plenty of witnesses who will back my statement on that,” he said.

    He denied using profanity in games and practices. “Why was I not reprimanded at the beginning of the season? Why did they wait until Jan. 18? Talk to my players and staff,” he said.

    Mr. Noftz said the shoot-a-thon, which was a required team fund-raiser, was directed by the school's athletic department. “If this was a problem last year, why was there nothing in my file that states there was a problem?” he said.

    As far as providing statistics to the media Jan. 5, Mr. Noftz said the information was faxed to The Blade 30 minutes late that day.

    Mr. Noftz said only three players from last year's team decided not to return. He said some players chose to participate in other extracurricular activities. Mr. Noftz said Mark Belkoper, who transferred to Genoa, “and I had a very good relationship. This was a decision that Mark made. I would not want to comment for Mark.”

    Mr. DeLong would not comment on the information in Mr. Noftz's file. Superintendent Paul Orshoski, Jr., could not be reached for comment.

    The Flyers are being coached for the rest of the season by assistant Terry Tansel. The Flyers, 7-8, lost last night to Swanton.

    Kathy Vail, president of the Lake Education Association, said the teacher's contract with the district does not cover supplemental contracts. She would not comment on the suspension.

    Phillip Shank, a 2000 Lake High School graduate, played on last year's team. “I thought he was a pretty good coach. ... There were some things he did coachingwise that I didn't agree with, but overall, I thought he was a good coach,” Mr. Shank said.



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