DC School Board recall denied

An effort to recall the Dolores County School Board was voted “not in favor” by a 5-1 majority decision last Thursday in Dove Creek.

The recall vote was in regard to the dismissal of long time former head football coach, Kenneth Soper.

A school board meeting was held at the Dolores County School District Re- 2 building.

A resolution written by Board President, Travis Randolph, and Dolores County Superintendant, Bruce Hankins, states the step-by-step process of Soper’s dismissal. It can be viewed by the public at www.dolorescounty.k12.co.us.

Board of Education secretary, Linda Yellowman, voted against the approval of the resolution.

In the spring of 2011, Hankins asked Soper how long he wanted to coach? The resolution states Soper quotes, “until you do not rehire me.”

Before the 2011 football season, Dolores County School Administration told Soper their intent to go in a different direction and that the 2011 season would be his last as football coach.

Hankins said he told Soper the reasons for his dismissal.

However, Soper has been quoted by the Journal expressing that school administration did not explain why they would go in a different direction.

School board meetings have expressed the coaching change as a “personnel issue.” Hankins related the personnel problem to safety issues concerning student athletes. But the superintendant wouldn’t comment specifically about what the safety concerns were.

Dove Creek High School has hired head wrestling coach, Shane Baughman, as head football coach. He will be assisted by current assistant coach and school board member, Josh Hankins, and DCHS track and field coach, Jason Fury.

Soper, 74, will remain as head baseball coach for the 2013 season. It will be his 48th year as head coach, but will also be his last.

When asked at a May school board meeting why Soper can coach baseball but not football in regard to the personnel issue, Randolph stated, “it’s a different game.”

Soper is Colorado’s second all-time winningest high school football coach with 305 victories. The late Pat Panek (Denver East and Machebeuf) holds the record at 306 wins.

Soper coached DCHS Bulldogs football for 47 years and is the longest tenured coach at one high school in Colorado history.

Reach Bobby Abplanalp at bobbya@cortezjournal.com.