Thursday, June 19, 2003

Mason rejects former Miami coach in light of pending charge



By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MASON - This Warren County school district is no longer considering hiring a former Miami University football coach accused of hitting an opposing team's fan.

The district held back from offering Jon Wauford a teaching position - as a high school special-education teacher - because Ohio law says legal cases involving violence could cause teaching licenses to be revoked, according to an e-mail from Superintendent Kevin Bright to the school board and other officials.

That e-mail, as well as paperwork regarding the possible hire, were released Wednesday after an Enquirer public-records request.

Reports surfaced last week that the district was looking to hire Wauford, the former Miami defensive coordinator who resigned after he was accused of hitting a Marshall University fan.

Wauford has contended that the fan ran into him at the end of the November game in Huntington, W.Va.

The Pickerington, Ohio, fan suffered a concussion.

Wauford's case on the misdemeanor battery charge is still pending.

"We are always looking for talent," Bright wrote in a May e-mail. "If we come across someone that has something to contribute, we approach them. Yes, in this instance, I approached Jon, because I knew him, and I believe in him."

Wauford interviewed in March and was "highly recommended." He has a bachelor's degree in secondary education and a master's degree in special education.

E-mails from district officials also indicate that the district was looking at him for a coaching position as well.

"Every once in awhile there is a risk worth taking for the good of kids ... we think this is one of those times ... time will tell," Bright wrote.

Before the June 10 board meeting, Bright wrote to school officials, telling them they could not move forward without a letter from the Ohio Department of Education saying Wauford could keep his license.

On Wednesday, a magistrate in Huntington refused to move Wauford's trial. His attorneys requested last month that his trial be moved out of Cabell County, saying excessive pretrial publicity would make it difficult to seat an impartial jury.

E-mail esolvig@enquirer.com




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