This letter is in response to an article written by Christopher Selmek dated 8/20/20 titled Urbana BOE prepares for school.
I have 3 main points and or questions that need to be asked and answered from that aforementioned article.
That article states that during a public comment phase a Christine Webb accused the Urbana boys 8th grade basketball coach of being a racist “who treats and plays his players based on the color of their skin.”
My first question is what is the policy or procedure for what gets printed in these meetings? Is anyone allowed to say anything and it gets printed? If so, I am sure there are many that would also say unfounded garbage like this.
Secondly, I waited several weeks to see if anyone in the administration of Urbana City Schools would stand up and refute such an allegation, and unless I missed something, no one did. Maybe they decided to let this die in the weeds but when do you need to stop being politicians, get a backbone and say enough is enough? If you don’t take a stand here on this, and defend a great person then where do you take a stand?
Thirdly, getting to the allegation itself, after knowing this individual for over 30 years and coaching at Urbana myself, I can tell you that you won’t find a better person and coach than you currently have.
I have seen parts of almost every practice for 6 years including multiple games and never once did I pick up on anything of the the sort. As a matter of fact, the last year that I was on staff, 3 of the starters were African American. Even in Urbana math, that is 60% of the starters. That sure does not seem racist to me.
As Ms. Webb continued, she states that there are daddy coaches who only play each other’s sons. There are a million ways I can take this but let’s cut this short. It sounds like Ms. Webb has a problem with a lot of coaches. So here is a question. Can it be all these coaches that are racist and or don’t play a certain player? Or can it be someone who has their ‘parent glasses’ on and can’t truly make an assessment of talent?
She continued by saying “And we wonder why” we don’t have ( higher) numbers (of players). This has nothing to do with ALL these coaches. For years Urbana and it’s leadership have almost refused to bring in new business and development. The reason that we don’t have higher numbers is that good people are leaving for a 4 letter word. J-O-B-S. As good people leave, they take their children elsewhere. These are the kids more than likely that would have been involved with extracurricular activities.
Urbana and Urbana City Schools have many problems, but I can assure you that your boys 8th grade basketball coach is not one of them. Finding good people who know the game, who are willing to spend the time are getting harder and harder to find. Having to defend yourself from garbage like this is a huge reason why. I hope he decides to stay. Not only will the kids miss out, but younger coaches who may be just getting started can really use someone with this kind of experience and knowledge.