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State league agrees on harsher penalties for Stewartville coach

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John Dzubay
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BROOKLYN CENTER — The Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors on Monday reviewed, and accepted, a committee's recommendation of a harsher penalty against Stewartville volleyball coach John Dzubay than the Stewartville School Board had agreed to earlier this year.

That means Dzubay won't be allowed to coach during the summer or have any contact with his team, including taking them to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area; will be off the bench for five game dates of the regular season; and won't be on the bench in any postseason games. He will will be allowed to continue coaching during the regular season.

The league's Eligibility Committee on May 6 recommended those sanctions against the longtime coach after determining Dzubay had violated several league rules.

The Stewartville School Board — which earlier this year suspended Dzubay from any contact with the team for five games — has agreed to follow the league's ruling, said school board member Joe Waugh, who attended that meeting.

In an earlier meeting, the league committee had agreed with the five-date sanction only but the board said it wanted to hear from the school administration. At the May 6 meeting, Stewartville Superintendent Dave Thompson; Tim Malone, who will soon take over as the Stewartville athletic director; and MSHSL Executive Director Dave Stead put some tougher questions to Dzubay.

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One member of the committee recommended Dzubay miss a full year of coaching, but it died for lack of a second.

A team of Stewartville school administrators investigated Dzubay after learning of possible rules infractions. They were:

• He admitted having student athletes sign into open gym during the summer. The administration team "believes this places undue pressure on our athletes" and doesn't follow league rules.

• Dzubay used the summer open gym to give athletes a way to add seconds to the time they have to run a mile before they can play in games. The standard is seven minutes. The administration believed that put "undue influence on our athletes from the June and July training and using that information in season."

• Dzubay used high school athletes on Sundays during the fall to teach skills to younger players. The administration believed that violated league rules about not requiring play or practice on Sundays or holidays and also put undue pressure on athletes.

• Dzubay's ninth-grade/varsity assistant coach also coached the Junior Olympic team that included the same varsity girls she coached in school. The assistant coach also sat on the bench during matches. That violates league rules "on coaching outside of the season." The coach was Leigh Dzubay, John Dzubay's daughter-in-law. She has since resigned. This was considered the worst violation.

• The administration said Dzubay showed poor judgment in filling out the required "coaches clipboard." Instead of filling out one part of the form, he typed in "afasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfadsf."

• The administration said Dzubay used a drill in which athletes spike balls at players to punish them for forgetting something. One girl suffered damage to a tooth from a ball that bounced up and hit her.

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In his defense, Dzubay said that many of the rules he was accused of violating are vague and hard to interpret. "I get it now," he said.

The spiking drill was one they used regularly in practices. Students who forgot things at other schools were asked to sing a song or take part in the drill to remind them about personal responsibility, he said. "It's a fun way for them to understand the rules," he said.

Neither Dzubay nor Malone returned calls seeking comment on Monday's decision.

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