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On The Fence

Bobby Leach "The Rooster" | 9/30/2015, 9:17 a.m.
Over the past several weeks I have heard more than one opinion on the drama that continues to surround the ...
Bobby Leach

Over the past several weeks I have heard more than one opinion on the drama that continues to surround the Romeoville High School football program and the selection of new head coach Oliver Gibson. While I don't normally comment on school district hires when it comes to coaches however I am compelled offer my own opinion.

Let me first preface I do not have inside information on personnel hired by the Valley View 365U school district and in no way profess to have all the facts but what I do have is a basic understanding of what appears to be a continued grievance brought by certain members of the teachers union with regards to the hire of Mr. Gibson as head football coach at Romeoville High School.

As I understand the rumor, the teachers union would like to see the district release Mr. Gibson as head coach of the football program in favor of a member teacher(s) simply because he or she is a union member and Mr. Gibson is not. Forget that Gibson is a lifelong resident of Romeoville, a graduate of the school, a former standout defensive player at the University of Notre Dame and played for the Pittsburg Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals from 1995-2003. He also coached a high school team in Evanston and was well received by all accounts. To say he is more than qualified is an understatement.

Adding to the obvious, I have been told that the teacher union member bringing the grievance is now coaching at a rival school. Let me offer this question. If this teacher is not actually teaching in the district that he or she is coaching in now, how is that any different than Mr. Gibson's situation? The argument simply doesn't hold water and if there is a push to railroad a good coach out of town simply because he is not a union member it's ridiculous in my opinion. Maybe there is more to the story here? Perhaps the argument to my question is that the rival coach(s) taking up their craft in a different district are at least union members somewhere? If that's the case, I am pretty sure Mr. Gibson was and may still be a union member of the NFL players union? I figure that is a wash right?

Since when do we as a society don't offer our young people the very best available? There is little doubt in my mind that the student athletes will relate in a real way to Mr. Gibson considering his background and also no doubt Gibson can share insights few coaches at the high school level can regarding the sport at its highest level which can only help students exposed to that knowledge. It is also interesting to note that Gibson is the only African American head football coach in our area and the first ever in the Romeoville High School football program. I think that is another statement of advance others would likely prefer to keep silent on.

The problem I have with this drama is that it is discussed behind closed doors and executive sessions as it basically is a personnel issue. While I understand and respect the sensitivity and legal obligations all parties must adhere to, I feel this issue should be brought out in the open bringing the rest of the taxpayers and parents up to speed on what is quickly becoming a distraction this program doesn't need. I think the best interests served here fall on the side of students first right? Hopefully more information will be made available to the public and consequently allow for a public opinion on the matter before any action is taken if any is planned.