Perrysburg parents support baseball coach contract

Melissa Dimmerling
(left) speaks on behalf of baseball coach Dave Hall, while other supporters stand in solidarity behind
her during the Perrysburg school board meeting Tuesday night. (Photos: Shane
Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)

PERRYSBURG – A dust-up over a coach’s contract renewal led some to lob accusations at a new school board
member Tuesday.
A handful of those in a standing-room-only crowd spoke in support of retaining high school baseball coach
Dave Hall, whose contract was eventually approved by the board by a 5-0 vote.
Several speakers accused school board member Cal Smith of not wanting Hall to continue in the position
due to personal problems with the coach.
Parents expressed appreciation for how Hall runs the baseball program, and when prompted, an overwhelming
majority of those present stood to indicate they were there to back him.
Hall started as a teacher and assistant baseball coach in 1982 and became head coach in 1985. He retired
as a teacher last year.
Mark Kruzel said he has coached with Hall, and separately collaborated with Smith as part of the
Perrysburg Amateur Baseball and Softball Commission. He recalled Smith becoming upset one day and
claiming retribution over a disagreement.
"In my experience with Mr. Smith on the (PABSC) board, it was extremely positive for a long time,
and Cal did a wonderful job. Toward the end of his reign on the board, he had an issue with a particular
man becoming a coach," Kruzel said. "We went through our process, we approved that coach. Cal
became upset, and one of his last comments was, ‘I’ll remember everyone who stabbed me in the back
today.’
"There’s a lot of bad coaches out there. Coach Hall is not one of them," Kruzel said in
closing.
Melissa Dimmerling said she heard from an administrator in another district last week that Hall "was
on Smith’s list of people to get rid of."
Dimmerling went on to recite an ethics policy for school board members, referencing conflicts of
interest. After the meeting, she declined to say which district or with whom she spoke about Smith and
Hall.
Smith said his concern toward Hall stemmed from a televised Perrysburg game from a previous season. He
stopped short of accusing Hall of having a sign for a pitcher to throw at another team’s batter, but he
offered a photograph of the broadcast showing the catcher using his middle finger to signal the pitcher,
and another photo showing a pitch heading toward the batter.

Cal Smith.

Smith made those allegations with the district in 2010 and also claimed Hall discriminated against
Catholic players, including Smith’s son, according to a report compiled after a district investigation
into the complaints.
The report, completed by Aura Norris, executive director of human resources and operations, found no
evidence of wrongdoing.
"At the completion of this investigation, I am hard pressed to find any of the individuals that Mr.
Smith named that are to corroborate his complaints," Norris stated in the report, which was
released this morning in response to a records request.
Later in the meeting, Smith declined to say why he had requested a separate vote on Hall’s contract, but
offered to share the photos with anyone who wanted to see them after the meeting.
When pressed to say whether he thought Hall called for a pitcher to throw at an opposing batter, Smith
said: "I’m not saying that, but here’s the pictures."
"We’ll leave it at that," Smith later said of his perceived problem with Hall.
At the start of the meeting, Hall’s contract was placed back into a grouping with other contracts, at
Smith’s request, after being listed on the agenda for a separate vote.
Responding to Dimmerling and Kruzel’s claims near the end of the meeting, Smith acknowledged becoming
frustrated with Hall as referenced by Kruzel and said he apologized the next day.
"I would agree with you, that was not one of my finer moments," Smith said of the encounter.

But Smith firmly denied speaking with anyone in another district about the baseball coaching position or
the possibility of Hall not returning as coach.
"During my brief discussion with the individual you’re talking about, the name Dave Hall never came
up."
Several speakers during the meeting said while Hall runs an excellent program, they were worried his
reputation had been tarnished by the suggestion he had done something to warrant a discussion of him not
being renewed.