Dolores gets new wrestling coach

With no discussion or input from the public, the Dolores School Board of Education approved the hiring of Leo Garand as the head coach for high school and middle school wrestling this coming school year. Garand has also been hired to replace Jim Everin as the physical education teacher at the secondary level.

A letter written by Rose Woods, the new athletic director for both Dolores High School and Middle School, was handed out.

“In reference to the wrestling position, it was my perception that an impartial, unbiased committee did not exist. Therefore, upon consulting our Dolores MS/HS athletic handbook, I made the recommendation for Leo Garand based on athletic policies,” the letter read.

Woods pointed to the fact that staff should have priority for extra-curricular assignments.

“I believe that this will lead to better accountability for student athletes by having their coach in the building,” Woods wrote.

Earlier this year, parents filled the boardroom upset after hearing rumors that then wrestling coach Dean Valdez would not be brought back as coach. The incident followed a wrestling match in Grand Junction during which students were allegedly accused of unbecoming conduct and destroying a hotel room.

Woods referred to another policy in her letter.

“Policy 008 Competition Conduct for Staff: A coach shall maintain reasonable self-control and is responsible for player misconduct,” she wrote. “Due to the fact that we are dealing with children, a responsible, accountable, firm coach needs to be present to insure that student athletes behave accordingly.”

She also went on to say that students must abide by a Code of Conduct, while attending school events, and that the head coach is responsible for supervision and must control reckless behaviors.

“The fact that Mr. Garand listed his coaching philosophy as being the exact athletic philosophy of Dolores MS and HS: Dedication, determination and discipline, is evidence that Mr. Garand is the most suitable candidate for this position,” Woods wrote.

Also Tuesday night, school board members approved John McHenry as the head girls’ high school basketball coach, Ben Tolin as the head girls’ middle school basketball coach, Frank Lopez as the head boys’ middle school basketball coach and Larry Schwartz as the head boys’ high school basketball coach.