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Published: Wednesday, 8/18/2004

Lake athletic director a very busy man

BY MARK MONROE
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

MILLBURY To say the last 12 days have been hectic for Lake High School athletic director Dave Shaffer would be a massive understatement.

I wouldn t wish it upon any athletic director, Shaffer said after he spent all of yesterday on the phone re-establishing his school s fall sports schedule. It s been a stressful time.

But Shaffer favors the stress over the despair his Lake athletes and students had endured over the past few weeks when it looked like all extracurricular activities would be canceled because of the defeat of a property tax levy on Aug. 3.

On Monday night, the Lake Local school board voted to restore all sports programs for the 2004-05 school year. The board voted to place a five-year, 1.25 percent income tax on the Nov. 2 ballot to support athletics and all other extracurricular activities, including clubs and academic programs, at the high school.

I m excited for the kids, especially the seniors, Shaffer said.

It s been a roller coaster ride, said Lake football coach Jim Kubuske.

It was heart-wrenching. Everyone was very despondent. Now it s great to be on the practice field. The kids are very excited, very enthusiastic and spirited.

In the end, despite 12 days of uncertainty the only game that has been officially eliminated from Lake s fall schedule is a football game against Genoa that was to take place on Sept. 17. Genoa signed a contract to host Warren Kennedy on that date.

And to the best of his knowledge, Shaffer said only two athletes have transferred to another school. All the others will be back to represent the Flyers this fall, winter and spring.

Just minutes after the board voted Monday night, the 53 football players in the Lake program gathered for their first practice.

There were a lot of them at the board meeting, Kubuske said. They had the heads-up that we would practice Monday night.

Kubuske said the quickly called practice was necessary because the team missed out on a week s worth of practice. The team will be allowed in pads for the first time tomorrow. The following night it scrimmages against Delta and Edon.

We re trying to speed the process up, Kubuske said. We have a quick time frame. We have to hustle.

Shaffer was experiencing a similar scenario yesterday as he contacted schools and referees to confirm contest dates. He said only one tennis and one soccer game had to be rescheduled.

It s like trying to reconstruct a fall season that took a year to get done in a matter of days, he said.

Shaffer said the past 12 days have been the most grueling he has faced in his five years as the AD and 11 years as an assistant AD.

It s been a very busy day to say the least, Shaffer saidy. I ve been trying to make a lot of phone calls. We re doing the best we can to get ready for games next week.

Kubuske said there has been talk of buying out Genoa s contract with Warren Kennedy.

As of now Genoa is not on our schedule. We have an open date, he said. But it would be great to play all the SLL schools. Genoa is a big rival next door.

After the board canceled extracurricular activities Friday, Aug. 5, the following day Shaffer notified all of Lake s opponents to remove the Flyers from their schedules. The following Monday, the board indicated that a reinstatement of all sports was being considered.

All of those schools were willing to wait until [last Monday] and we really appreciate their patience, he said. What we asked them to do was very difficult.

Shaffer said in his talks with other school officials the common theme was that their programs could be in similar jeopardy in the near future.

A lot of the comments from other schools were that they were concerned that they could be in the same situation, he said.

During the process, some Lake athletes submitted requests to transfer to other schools. Shaffer said the school superintendent refused to sign the release waivers.

Shaffer said the Ohio High School Athletic Association s rules indicate that a student can transfer only in extreme cases.

Only football and baseball players Matt and Marshall Severhof, who moved to Pemberville and will play for Eastwood, have left Lake.

We made the decision to move even before the levy failed, said Ed Severhof, Matt and Marshall s father. We did not want to take the chance. They didn t want to leave. It s their senior season. I m just trying to do what is best for my sons.

The only cuts at the high school level were the bowling team and freshmen cheerleading.

Shaffer said the five-year, 1.25 percent income tax levy that will be on the Nov. 2 ballot must pass for there to be sports and extracurricular activities in the 2005-06 year.

I can t speak for the board, but if the levy would fail in November, I would think the board would have no option but to cut athletics the following year, he said. We re not out of the woods.

Kubuske, whose team went 6-4 last season, said he believes his players will show their appreciation to the community on the game field.

The kids are having an awful lot of fun, Kubuske said. We re very thankful to the community and the board.

Contact Mark Monroe at:mmonroe@theblade.comor 419-724-6110.



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