Decision to hire new head coach pending school board approval –
By Wade Linville –
After 21 years at the helm, Georgetown High School varsity girls basketball coach Bernie Cropper is not expected to return to head the program for the 2017-18 season, according to Georgetown Exempted Village School Superintendent Chris Burrows.
Cropper was recently notified by Burrows that his supplemental coaching contract with the school district was not going to be the one recommended by the superintendent for approval by the GEVS School Board when they vote on the contracts during the upcoming school board meeting that is to take place Wednesday at the Georgetown Elementary School.
High school coaching contracts are supplemental contracts that are done on an annual basis, so each year the school board has to vote to approve such contracts.
According to Cropper, he was given no prior indication that the school district had plans of not approving his supplemental coaching contract, and the news came as an unpleasant surprise.
“I was shocked and very disappointed,” Cropper said on Tuesday. “I was given no indication of any problems. For 21 years we’ve had a successful program, and I believe the majority of the kids were pleased with their experience.”
On Wednesday morning, Cropper received a call from the GHS Athletic Department notifying him that a new coach had been selected to be recommended to the school board for approval.
On Wednesday afternoon, The Brown County Press met with Burrows to discuss why Cropper’s contract was not expected to be approved, and to find out who is expected to take over the position as the varsity girls basketball coach.
“I think the accuracy of the decision was that it is time for the girls basketball program to go in a different direction,” said Burrows. “There’s a deep respect for Bernie Cropper in this district. At this point in time I can understand why he and those that are the closest to him may not feel that, but there is a deep, deep level of respect for him and what he has done for our district, and more importantly for Bernie Cropper as an individual. He is a stand-up person, a coach that will always be admired and respected in Georgetown for what he has accomplished. You will never hear me say an ill word about Bernie Cropper.”
In 21 years as head girls basketball coach at GHS Cropper has compiled a coaching record of 372 wins and 119 losses, and holds an overall career coaching record of 508 wins and 216 losses.
During his time as head of the GHS girls basketball program his teams won 17 Southern Buckeye Athletic/Academic Conference National Division titles that included 15 consecutive league titles, while also staking claim to 13 sectional titles, two district titles, and an Elite Eight appearance.
“It’s really been a great 21 years,” Cropper said of his time as GHS girls basketball coach. “I’m really thankful for the opportunity. It’s been a blessing to be able to coach many great young ladies. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve made some great memories and built some great relationships that will last forever.”
Burrows said that Janel Iden, who coached women’s basketball at Earlham College in Richmond, IN from June 2014-Feb. 2017, is who he will be recommending to the school board during the May 17 meeting as the new GHS varsity girls basketball coach.
“The board has not voted on this. Right now, it is the recommendation that I have and am preparing for the board for next week to vote on,” said Burrows.
“The candidate will be presented to them (school board members), and then they will have their opportunity to cast their vote,” Burrows added.
According to Burrows, Iden will also work at the school district as the media integration specialist, heading the new media center.
According to Burrows, getting support from the board on the recommendation to hire Iden should not be a problem.
“That could always be the case, but I don’t feel like it will be with this,” Burrows said in relation to whether he felt the school board would possibly vote against his recommendation to hire Iden as the new varsity girls basketball coach.
Iden is originally from Zanesville, OH where she attended West Muskingum High School. She went on Otterbein College where she was a four-year letter winner and two-year starter on the women’s basketball team in what was an outstanding college basketball career.
She would later serve as an assistant University of Mount Union women’s basketball coach, as an assistant/interim coach at Earlham College, and as a women’s basketball coach at the College of Mt. Saint Joseph in Cincinnati.
Iden’s application came in at GHS after the school district chose to advertise the coaching job on a broad spectrum, according to Burrows.
Iden holds a Master of Education from Kent State University and a Bachelor of Arts from Otterbein.
Although he may not be heading the GHS girls basketball program next season, Cropper said he has no plans of ending his coaching career just yet, even if it means taking up a coaching job with another school district.
“I still want to coach basketball. I still have the same passion to coach that I’ve always had,” said Cropper.