PORT TOWNSEND — In a swift 3-1 vote Wednesday night, the Port Townsend School District board rejected a hiring committee’s recommendation to replace a popular football coach with a new one from outside the district.
With the board’s action, the head high school football coach position will again be opened to new applicants.
That means that Dan Fountain, the interim coach who led the Redskins to a 9-2 record last year, will get a chance to return to the team.
Fountain’s popularity prompted dozens of football players to show their support during two School Board meetings when his possible replacement was discussed.
Nine players attending Wednesday night’s meeting applauded the board’s decision.
“I think this is good,” said junior football player Jordan Alvarado. “It is going to bring us closer together now after we almost lost Coach Fountain.”
Last month, the hiring committee, made up of six staff members and a student athlete, recommended hiring Tom Sly, a football coach from Gig Harbor.
The recommendation met criticism from a number of players and parents during a previous School Board meeting.
Many wondered why the committee chose to replace Fountain, who has coached the Redskins team on and off since 2000.
“It surprises me that we made a decision to hire an individual who has not been part of this community,” said School Board member Tracy Reinhart before the Wednesday vote.
“I have no doubt that Tom Sly is an excellent candidate,” she said, “but with all due respect to the committee . . . I cannot go ahead with this recommendation.”
Reinhart and two other board members said they were concerned about the hiring process and questioned why the committee did not include anyone from the district’s football program.“I feel that representation from the program could have helped,” she said.