Union Local board of ed loses sight of priorities

One of the things we love most about the Ohio Valley is how passionate people are about high school sports.

But, one of the things we dislike the most about the Ohio Valley is how passionate people are about high school sports results.

We realize that winning is important. If it wasn’t, they shouldn’t keep score.

High school sports, though, are much, much more than winning and losing. Unfortunately, I think some people have lost sight of that fact.

No group of people has lost sight of it more than the Union Local Board of Education.

The Union Local Board of Education made a decision that it wasn’t going to renew the football coaching contract of Mark Cisar at its last meeting.

Somewhat unwillingly, Cisar submitted his resignation to school officials rather than fighting the board and making it vote him out. Cisar didn’t have the support of the board, meaning a change was coming, so rather than keeping the program in limbo, he’s stepping aside, so the school can begin the process of finding his replacement.

We’ve come to believe that the Union Local school board thinks its the owner of the Union Local football program.

In professional sports, the owner of the franchise doesn’t have to listen to anyone and often times makes the decision to fire coaches based on winning and losing.

That’s basically what the Union Local BOE has done.

After word of Cisar’s stepping down hit the public, many of UL’s players messaged me on Twitter, expressing their unwavering support of their now former head coach.

Obviously, the Union Local BOE hasn’t listened to the people who elected it to those positions. Actually, it might have because the players, who spend countless hours with Cisar during the course of the season, aren’t eligible to vote yet.

One player messaged me and said, “making (Coach) Cisar resign was honestly the worst mistake our board has ever made.”

Maybe if the board took some time and looked into the situation a little deeper than seeing the on-field struggles in terms of wins and losses, it would have gotten the same responses that I did via Twitter.

Playing in Division IV against a schedule that featured four playoff teams with a team made up basically of underclassmen is tough sledding regardless of who’s coaching the team.

As Bubba Kapral wrote in his Sunday piece, Urban Meyer would have had trouble posting more victories than what Cisar did. Well, maybe the board will approach Mike Tomlin or Nick Saban about the job then.

Heck, even the players realize that as evidenced by this comment, “what people need to learn is the difference between a bad coach and an inexperienced team. We were young. Can’t pin that on him.”

It’s unfortunate that even the players – who pour blood, sweat and tears into the team and want to win in the worst way – notice that, but adults, who sit in the crowd on Fridays and coach from the stands can’t see it. Actually, maybe they don’t want to see it.

The impact coaches have on kids is unmatched. During the season, the coaching staffs spend almost as much time with their players as their own families.

Cisar has impacted many of his players’ lives personally throughout his seven-year career at UL. But, again, the board doesn’t see that part of it either, evidently.

Another player told me, “he definitely was a father figure in our lives.”

Basically, the Union Local school board has indicated that none of that matters. It’s all about wins and losses.

For that thought process, the Union Local school board is really the biggest loser in this scenario.

The thing about Cisar is he’s the consumate professional. He’ll continue to be the athletic director and continue to do the best job possible.

He told me Friday morning he won’t be involved in the interview process with the candidates to replace him, which makes perfect sense. Obviously, that would be an uncomfortable situation for both sides.

However, once the hiring process is complete, Cisar is technically the new coach’s boss. But, again, you can expect Cisar to be supportive and professional.

And, we’d expecting nothing less because, unlike the UL Board of Education, Cisar gets it.


Record-settng Bellaire High quarterback Spencer Badia enjoyed a regular season that most quarterbacks only dream about.

Badia guided the high-flying Big Reds’ offense to a victory against Martins Ferry in the season finale and a berth in the Division V playoffs.

In the process, he passed for more than 3,000 yards.

However, during the first half of the playoff game at Cuyahoga Heights, Badia injured his knee.

The gutsy and team-oriented player that Badia is, he came back in the game and finished the contest.

He’s since undergone a MRI and received word that he tore his anterior cruciate ligament and will need surgery.

According to Badia, doctors have told him he’ll undergo the operation in a few weeks when he regains some of his strength.

Once repaired, the rehab and recovery process takes upwards of six months.

That means Badia’s status for baseball season is in serious limbo, but he should be healthy when football practices commence next summer.

Knowing the kind of kid and athlete is, Badia will work his tail off during the rehab process to make sure he’s back in time for football, but he’s holding out hopes for at least maybe late baseball season toward the sectional tournament.

While we admire his dedication, we hope that Badia is 100 percent before returning to the athletic field and he doesn’t rush the process.

His long-term health is the most important thing to consider.


COLUMBUS BISHOP HARTLEY has reached the Division IV state semifinals like most everyone in the state expected. Senior tight end Jacob Matuska had another big game for the 13-0 Hawks.

Matuska, whose parents are St. John Central graduates, had a huge game on defense from his linebacker spot.

Offensively, he was consistently ran behind as Hartley took care of Ottawa Glandorf.

CINCINNATI MOELLER advanced to the Division I state semifinals thanks to another strong performance by quarterback Spencer Iacovone.

Iacovone, who is headed to Marshall to play baseball, led the Crusaders past Cincinnati Colerain at Nippert Stadium Saturday night.

PICKERINGTON NORTH is in the Division I state semifinals after dispatching Hilliard Davidson Saturday night at Ohio Wesleyan. North, which is led by Northwestern commit Godwin Igwebuike and Michigan commit Jake Butt, features an Ohio Valley product on the coaching staff.

Ferry High graduate Mike Edwards is the line coach for the Panthers.

Staskey can be reached at or at