Parents seek answers on poor athletic team records

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Persistent losing records affect not just the school but the whole community, school board told

Concerned about the persistent losing records of several of Benson High School’s major varsity sports, a group of parents came to the Oct. 16 Board of Education meeting looking for answers.

They told the board of education that the losing records were having a negative impact not just on athlete and student morale, but were also having an impact on the ability of businesses to bring employees to the community.

It has been leading some parents to consider leaving the Benson area to give their children a chance to play for schools with winning programs.

The parents and citizens who spoke were not officially on the Oct. 16 agenda, but were allowed to speak under the citizens’ comments period at the start of the meeting. However, Chairman Chad Payne set down some guidelines for the group before they could address the board.

“First we are going to learn the rules,” Payne said. “You can address the board. Give your name. If you are talking about individuals and staff, they can’t be (named.) They can be referred to as a coach, a teacher. If anyone is referred to by name we’ll stop, we’ll be done, and we will move on.”

Once those at the meeting were warned that the school board would cut off the discussion and move on with its regular agenda if a coach or teacher was mentioned by name, he opened the meeting to comments.

 “We have a group of concerned parents here tonight that are very concerned with the athletics at Benson High School and where they are going,” Angela Nissen said. “The direction that it is heading. How things are being handled. The losing records of our programs.

“We want to know if the school board is concerned or if the athletic department is concerned with our athletic program because of the records; they speak for themselves. I think our children are tired of losing. I think we deserve better.

“And we want to know what is going to be done about it, if anything” Nissen said. “We want to know if it is on your radar. There is a lot of concern in the community. There is a lot of concern among parents. I am hoping there is concern with the board....”


‘Records speak for themselves’

One of the primary complaints many high school coaches will face is parents upset about playing time for their kids. That wasn’t the case at the Oct. 16 meeting. It was all about the poor performance of the athletic teams and what that means for the future of BHS athletics.

Benson’s girls basketball team has won two games in the past four years and lost 100. Last year it was 0-24.

The boys varsity football team is 3-42 in the past five years and didn’t win a game this season.

The boys hockey team has won 3 of 41 games in the last two years and is 39 and 85 in the past five years.

Benson’s varsity boys basketball team was 6-18 last year and has a record of 42-88 over the past five years.

The girls volleyball team has won 15 of 57 games in the past three years....


Parents want action, leadership

Those at the Oct. 16 meeting were voicing concerns that parents have been raising in the community for several years now, but were hesitant to bring directly to a public meeting. Many who have declined to speak publically have said they fear their kids would suffer retribution as athletes if they did.

Many of the parents have also said that they don’t have anything personal against the current coaches, in fact, they say most are very likeable. However, something has to be done about the current state of BHS athletic team performance, they agreed....

“We are trying to get 26 people into Case right now,” CNH Plant Manager Jason Hausauer told the school board. “Some of them hourly and some of those staff.” Hausauer had come to the meeting for the discussion about the proposed operating tax levy, but also ended up sitting in on the discussion about school athletics.

“When I do interviews for staff they asked about the school,” he said. “And I speak very highly of the school and always have. When they ask about the community, I speak very highly of the community.  When they ask about the sports program, it is very tough for me to say anything. What I generally say is, ‘I am not sure what their records are you will have to look.’

“So I share the concerns,” Hausauer said. “To get individuals into my facility, that is something that is looked at and I am not sure if you guys realize that or recognize that or not. But it is a concern for me because I know several that have gone somewhere else because the sports program is better.”

The Monitor-News talked with at least six other business owners in the community about the impact of the persistent losing records on their businesses. All agreed that it does make it more difficult to attract and retain employees....


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