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After emotional meeting, Dover-Eyota delays hiring football coach

EYOTA — On an emotional night, the Dover-Eyota School Board decided Monday night to hold off on hiring a new football coach, putting aside the recommendations of the administration until an examination of the hiring process can be completed.

The hiring of Brian Harris as varsity football coach and Dan Vrieze as assistant varsity football coach had been recommended to the board by the administration based on its normal hiring process, said Bruce Klaehn, superintendent of the Dover-Eyota district. Harris and Vrieze had both coached the school's B team.

But an impassioned plea from Dana Winkles, wife of 9th- and 10th-grade football coach Mark Winkles, had the board holding off on what is normally a routine vote.

"Why was he not considered?" Dana Winkles asked.

"There are kids who didn't go out for varsity or 10th grade football because of the coach," said Terry Waletzki, who followed Winkles during a public comment section of the meeting. "If we don't have kids coming out because of the coach, that's an issue."


Klaehn said the hiring process was followed in the recommendation of Harris and Vrieze. A committee reviewed the applicants, selected the few to be interviewed and made its recommendation to the school board. On this committee, four individuals sorted through and interviewed the applicants.

Board member Julie Austinson said that while the board is not part of the hiring process — nor should it be — on a hiring that generated so much emotion, she would like to make sure the process was followed.

However, Klaehn said it was likely the process would be verified for the two hires; information about this particular process was given to the board members who want to assure themselves the normal practices were followed in recommending Harris and Vrieze.

"You can't have a public popularity contest decide who will be your teachers or coach," Klaehn said.

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