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LCC AD takes off the gloves...........

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#1 Rocketman

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Posted 26 October 2014 - 03:25 PM

As the athletic director at Lima Central Catholic, and someone who has worked extremely hard to strengthen the relationship between Lima Senior and Lima Central Catholic, I have resisted joining the recent fray over the stadium name in the interest of maintaining that relationship.

However, when enough misinformation is spread without a response, it becomes the truth in the eyes of many people. So after the recent letter from Eddie Monfort, whom I’ve known for years and have great respect for, I felt the time had come to set the record straight and defend the school of which I have been a part of my entire life.


Mr. Monfort’s column accuses Lima Central Catholic of recruiting. This claim has been made for years, yet never once has a recruiting accusation been sent to the OHSAA regarding LCC. If there were “aggressive” recruiting going on at our junior high events, wouldn’t it be reasonable to think that football and basketball would be the two main sports targeted? If so, Eddie is making a direct accusation at me.

I have volunteered my time as the head coach of the LCC junior high basketball team for the past 25 years, and I will gladly stand in front of anyone and assure them that never did I talk to a Lima City student about coming to LCC, and having been at every game for 25 years, I can assure you that no one else from LCC did either. And having lived with LCC in my backyard for over 20 years, I have been at almost all junior high football games, and the same holds true. Ask yourself if you have ever seen an LCC representative talk to an opposing student or parent after any junior high event trying to sell LCC to them. You can’t, because it doesn’t happen.


The truth is, open enrollment is the reason the Lima City Schools have lost most of their students, not recruiting and vouchers. According to recent numbers from the ODE, almost 800 students had left the Lima City School district. Over 700 had taken advantage of open enrollment and chosen to attend one of the other local public schools, with less than 100 choosing vouchers and attending a private school. In an age of vouchers and open enrollment where kids can go to any public or private school, LCC is far behind every other school in the area in the number of kids choosing us over Lima Senior, so the recruiting efforts of those schools must be more “aggressive” than ours.

It is easy when your school system has issues that cause almost 800 kids to decide to go elsewhere to start looking for scapegoats outside your own system. It is convenient to blame vouchers and recruiting but it is simply not accurate.

Did those 700 kids go to other public schools because they were recruited? Of course not, their parents simply felt another public school was better for them. The same holds true for those who leave for private education.

Lima Central Catholic has built its reputation on being a faith-based school that offers students strong academics and solid extracurricular activities. We create an atmosphere where more than 95 percent of our seniors go on to higher education every year. If parents make the decision that is the kind of school they want their kids to be a part of and decide to send their kids to LCC according to the laws of the state, that is not recruiting.


Not one student has left LCC and joined this year’s Lima Senior football team, yet somehow Lima Senior has quickly become one of the best teams in the state. How did this happen? The answer is that Lima Senior hired a great coach. Mike has brought pride back to the same kids who were walking the halls of Lima Senior, and suddenly Lima Senior is a force again. Interestingly, the exact same thing happened at LCC. After six or eight years of losing football teams, Jerry Cooper showed up and LCC became a powerhouse. Names like Gary DeLuca at Bath, Chris Adams at Elida and Bob Seggerson at LCC have done the same thing in the past in our area. Coach Fell was able to draw from the talents of the same kids who were there before he arrived, just as great coaches have done for as long as athletics have been around.

Additionally, Lima City School representatives have told me that it seemed like every city school student who chose to attend LCC just happened to be an athlete. This again shows the selective memory used when it comes to vouchers. Take a look at many of the best athletes who attended LCC, and look at the fact that their brothers or sisters were also sent to LCC by their parents, but not much was said about them. I would contend that the only people concentrating on the athletes who attended LCC are the Lima City Schools, while completely ignoring their non-athlete siblings who also made that choice. As all of this talk reached a fever pitch in the last few years, I have personally asked more than 25 past students and parents who chose to leave the Lima City Schools and attend LCC, and not one said that they were contacted by LCC before making their decision. Their parents decided that LCC was their best alternative, so they decided as a family to make the switch.


In addition, Mr. Monfort’s claim that the AD from LCC was informed that the Lima City Schools would no longer play LCC in junior high sports if the “aggressive” recruiting did not stop is patently untrue. I know I was never told that, and I confirmed with our past AD that he also was never told that. The Lima City Schools did inform me that they had decided to stop playing LCC in junior high sports, but if this was their true motivation, and with the number of kids they are losing to other public schools, why would they play any local schools in junior high sports? But again, the only school they have stopped playing is LCC.


As for the issue of the stadium name, the disregard of the opinions of the many respected people from their own community who spoke up is startling to me. But even more surprising to me was their response when the donor who came forward with a $1.2 million donation and, through city officials, indicated that Spartan Field at Lima Stadium would have been an acceptable compromise on the name. Their response came in a guest column in The Lima News which unbelievably blamed the problem on the donor.

I am well aware that many Lima City School will be unmoved by my words today. I know I will never change their minds. But remember that all of the favorable rental terms mentioned by Mr. Monfort were forged when these two school systems were working together to make the best possible atmosphere for all of our students. Maybe their reasoning at the time was that they realized that any parent who sends their child to a Catholic school is still paying no more or no less in school taxes than every public school family. Or maybe they thought it would help in the passing of levies, or maybe they simply wanted to create a more unified Lima. But they obviously believed it was beneficial for both school systems, and I definitely believe that is still the case.

Mr. Monfort wonders whether Dr. McGovern and Fr. Herr could have worked through these problems. Well Eddie, let me answer that question for you. The answer is yes, and the reason is that Dr. McGovern would have looked at the actual numbers and realized that the problem was an internal one that he must fix. He then would have gone about doing that, rather than pointing the finger elsewhere. Hopefully the recent success on the field will prove that is the case, and we can get back to the great relationship we have always had, to the betterment of both of our communities and the city of Lima.
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#2 lima ball

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 10:33 AM

Would anyone have a link to the article Mr Williams is responding to??
Great response from Ron about all the crap the Lima City Schools have been putting on LCC, when there are many other schools in Lima who have more of the "City School kids" than LCC has

#3 omniscient1

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 01:17 PM

It is now officially one year since any new stories have been posted on this site :(

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