One parent’s nightmare is another parent’s dream coach


1 Response to “One parent’s nightmare is another parent’s dream coach”

  1. November 24, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    tim Mersch, former Greater Western Ohio Conference Coach of the Year, is the target of a series of accusations.

    Five girls tearfully complained last week during a meeting of the Lebanon Board of Education that Mersch is verbally and emotionally abusive and uses intimidation to pit players against one another, even allowing bullying among teammates.

    They alleged incidents of name-calling, confrontational tactics, belittling some girls’ physiques and fostering a team environment where some girls bully others.

    Board members listened without comment.

    Superintendent Mark North said he became aware of the complaints during the season and that the district’s two investigations – one making use of the district’s attorney – found the complaints lacked merit. Moreover, North says he intends to rehire Mersch – a retired teacher and veteran girls volleyball coach – for next fall’s season.

    Shortly after the girls complained publicly Monday night, the mother of one player was granted a Dec. 3 hearing before a magistrate in Warren County Common Pleas Court as she seeks a stalking protection order against the coach.

    Maureen Painter alleged that during a September evening visit by Mersch at her home he verbally confronted both her and her daughter.

    Painter also made allegations that during school Monday, Mersch – who is only contracted part time to coach – came to Lebanon High School and sought out her daughter who was working at the school office and glared at her more than a minute in response to complaints about him.

    Mersch declined comment about the accusations. He has until Nov. 30 to file objections to the hearing.

    Painter also filed a complaint Thursday with Lebanon police, but the officer who took the complaint was unavailable Friday to comment on whether police are investigating.

    “He is verbally and emotionally abusive,” Painter said. “He plays mind games and manipulates these girls. He is a nasty, vindictive man. This has been going on for years and I don’t want these girls or any future girls to suffer from this.”

    Another parent, Chris Young, echoed Painter’s claims, accusing Mersch of being psychologically and emotionally abusive to these kids.

    Young dismissed the district’s investigations as bogus and a whitewash.

    Another team parent, Rick McPherson, said Mersch “gets his rocks off pushing people’s buttons by saying evil and demeaning kinds of things. The other parents are afraid their kids won’t get to play so they look the other way,” he said.

    The accusations of bullying among some girls was also looked into, say district officials.

    In a Nov. 10 letter to a parent, North said after examining various complaints – including claims of sexual harassment of the girls – there were no findings of misbehavior.

    North also wrote the investigation did not find that bullying was occurring on the team. “However, the investigation has recommended that next year’s entire girls’ varsity volleyball team participate in aggressive behavior/bullying awareness training so as to prevent potential future occurrences,” he wrote.

    Mersch, whose team finished 20-5 this fall after winning the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s South Division, has remained silent, but his backers have not.

    Team parent Renee Lay stated in an e-mail that a large contingent of parents and players support the Lebanon volleyball program and its coaches, especially Mersch.

    “Many letters of support have been sent to the school administration and board in support of Tim Mersch and by far outweigh those who are dissatisfied with him,” wrote Lay. “He knows volleyball and teaches the game inside and out. He is also concerned for their well-being as a player and a person. He is …mild-mannered in comparison to other coaching styles I have witnessed.”

    Andrea and Greg Jones wrote that their daughter improved substantially under Mersch’s guidance.

    “We choose to participate in the volleyball program, knowing who the coach is and his character,” they wrote.

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