Parents, players object to firing of soccer coach

Nearly 50 student soccer players and parents came to the Oxford school board meeting last Tuesday with a simple message – We want our coach back.

The group of past, present and future Oxford High School soccer players, along with parents, showed up in support of Rob Euashka, the former head coach of the OHS girls’ soccer program, who was recently fired.

For almost two hours, nearly 20 players and parents spoke about how Euashka had changed their lives or the lives of their children.

Stacey Eschberger, whose daughter Mackenzie played for Euashka, said the coach made great strides with the program during his three-year tenure.

Eschberger told the board that when Euashka started at Oxford, the soccer program’s account had only $35 in it.

By the end of his tenure, it had swelled to $3,500, she said.

In addition to making the program more financially successful, Euashka also greatly improved things on the field as the team was only one victory away from winning the league last season, according to Eschberger.

According to Assistant Superintendent of Business & Operations Sam Barna, the girl’s high school soccer account held approximately $32 when he was hired in November 2013 and the account balance was at approximately $3,700 at the end of June 2016, when Euashka was removed.

Samantha Medici, a 2014 OHS graduate, shared her story of the trials she’d faced when she first began attending Northwood University after her time at OHS.

She said through Euashka’s encouragement, she decided to continue playing soccer in college, despite having not received an athletic scholarship.

“I was debating giving up and I called him and he really helped me get to the next level and made me a starter at a Division 2 college,” Medici said.

Medici said the coach has continued to be a huge source of inspiration to her and with his help, she was able to eventually receive a scholarship.

“To this day, he comes to almost all of my games, which are out of his way, like games in Indiana and Ohio, and he makes an effort to come out and support me even though I’m not playing for him anymore. I think that shows his true character,” Medici said.

Kim Gordon, whose daughter Emma had played for Euashka throughout his three years with the district, said she felt the soccer program needed the stability of keeping him as head coach.

“I just can’t see how we can teach these girls to continue in a program by throwing a whole other coach at them when we already had someone that knows what they’re doing and someone that’s dedicated,” she said. “He knows what he is doing, he knows how to coach and he knows how the game is played.”

Antonio Romano, whose daughter Katie had also played for Euashka, said the district should reconsider its decision to remove the coach.

“Think about what he’s done for our community, programs, inspirations. His heart is in it. The team is in it…. He built (the girls’ soccer) program,” Romano said.

Several parents at the meeting said they felt the Athletic Director Cole Andrews’ decision stemmed from a game played in late May against Lake Orion, which they disagreed with. During that game, Eschberger, along with two other parents, said they had witnessed Euashka being reprimanded by Andrews for not controlling the parents in the stands.

“Coach Rob was told (by Andrews) he didn’t have control of the parents. (Euashka) did turn two to three times to tell them to be quiet. I watched the AD Mr. Andrews stand on the track looking at the parents shaking his head, never addressing anyone besides the students… I have never seen (OHS football coach) Bud Rowley have to stop coaching to address yelling parents,” Eschberger said.

Tom Medici, whose daughters Christina and Samantha had both played for Euashka, said he disagreed with Andrews’ decision, as well. “It’s a tragedy that a knee-jerk reaction by an AD is costing (Euashka) his job,” Medici told the board.

Andrews did not return phone calls seeking comment.

The board thanked the students and parents for stepping forward to speak at the meeting.

In a later interview, Superintendent Tim Throne said he will meet with Euashka, along with others, before reporting back to the board, so a decision can be made regarding whether or not to reinstate the coach.


One response to “Parents, players object to firing of soccer coach”

  1. (Andrews) will leave a wake of destruction on the athletic dept. and eventually will move on. Very poor hire. Can’t get rid of him soon enough!

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