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By J. Levi Burnfin
Courier Sports 

Wrestling Coach Grapple

Possible New Hire For Scottie Wrestling Coach Tabled, Causes Stir

 


Questions arose about possible new Scottie wrestling coach at the May 15 Glasgow School Board meeting.

Trevor Newman, a recent hire to be an English teacher within the district, was on the board agenda to be approved, but the board tabled the item until the next meeting due to procedural hiring guidelines. However, wrestling alumni, fans, athletes, parents and AAU wrestlers showed up to voice their concerns about the hire beforehand.

Brian Austin told the board he was concerned about the hiring process at the time, asking questions about the steps taken in the hire.

“We’re very worried about the direction this is going,” said Austin in a phone interview after the meeting. “We’re concerned that we’re not looking at any other candidates. We want to make sure the right guy is hired.”

Austin told the board that the wrestling community would like to be part of the process. Later, in the phone interview, he clarified that he knows that the final decision would be, and should be, made by the board.

However, “We want the opportunity to look at this thing,” he said. “We just want to be part of the solution. We want to be in the loop and we don’t feel like we have been.”

Glasgow AAU wrestling coach Jory Casterline added, “We don’t know if there was an interview committee and if this guy is the right guy for the job.”

He noted that the process of selecting a candidate is the biggest reason for his concern.

“I don’t know if it’s policy to hire from within,” he questioned.

Glasgow Activities Director Willie Thibault and Superintendent Bob Connors both said it is not a policy. But it is a procedure the school and district practices.

According to Thibault, the first step to finding a hire is if the school district has somebody currently on staff who is qualified and who has “been in the buildings.” The second step is somebody who is qualified coming into the system as a new a hire, such as Newman. The third step would be looking for qualified people off staff.

“That’s they way I’ve done it in my tenure here in Glasgow,” said Connors. “We would prefer our coaches to be in house so they can develop a relationship with the student-athletes not only in season, but in the classroom.”

Thibault sent an email to Connors, with that procedure in mind, recommending Newman for the position on April 5.

The email also contained Newman’s coaching and wrestling history, such as his accomplishments as a wrestler at Colstrip High School from 1996-00. And it included assistant coaching stints with the Missoula Wrestling Club, Helena High School, Missoula Sentinel High School, Spartan Wrestling Club, the Montana Junior/Cadet Dual team and head coaching stints at Missoula Loyola and at two middle schools. However, some of those qualifications were questioned.

As a 171-pound wrestler in 1998, Newman listed that he placed fifth in the Montana Class A State Tournament. Records on MHSA.org listed him as a sixth-place finisher.

His other state placement, a third in the 275-pound class in 2000, was accurately listed.

His position as an assistant coach with the 2010-11 Montana Junior/Cadet Dual team was also questioned. Newman addressed both instances in a phone interview on Tuesday.

“The fifth place was an AAU state placement in ‘96 or ‘97. That [fifth place] wasn’t high school,” he said.

And he also clarified that he coached at camps for the Junior/Cadet dual team but did not travel with the team to Pocatello, Idaho, for the tournament.

In addition, Missoula Sentinel’s activities director, Pete Hasquet, described Newman’s involvement with the wrestling program in 2010-11 as a volunteer coach.

 

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