Concerns aired over football program

Sallisaw football became the focus of the monthly meeting of the Sallisaw School Board Monday night when between 30 and 40 people showed up to express their concerns.

Todd Martin spoke for a number of people present when he told the board he was concerned about the direction of the football program.

Martin said he wanted to make sure the staff was given enough people to operate the football team. “Our numbers are going up and currently, we do not have enough (staff). I want our head coach  and program to be taken care of, at least on par with our rivals,” he said.

Sallisaw has hired Randon Lowe as head coach, replacing Scott Bethel. Bethel had been tabbed to be athletic director, but has since opted out and took a position in northwest Arkansas. Jeff Streun, the former head coach at Roland, was hired as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator, strength and conditioning coach and assistant athletic director.

Sources say Streun, while he hasn't officially submitted his resignation, may be taking a job in another industry.

Several other football staff members have gone on to other jobs, and Martin said that is the main concern that there is not enough staff to run the football program with summer practice set to begin in a couple of weeks.

Lisa Lessley, the mother of a senior football player, said she was disappointed in Sallisaw because Coach Lowe and Coach Streun had been working hard with the boys all summer and two weeks before workouts started these problems arose.

“Our boys have played together since the first grade. They want to win. You didn't give him (Streun) what he was told he would get. I'm extremely disappointed in Sallisaw,” Lessley said.

Because the discussion was not part of the agenda, the board could take no action, but at the end of the meeting, board member Frank Sullivan III told the audience the board appreciated and welcomed their comments.

He promised the crowd something would be done at a later meeting, and he felt confident they would like it, although he could not discuss details.

In other business, the board went over some routine, items that included approving bread, milk and pest control services, approving receiving and sending open transfers submitted and using hours to calculate the length of the school years.

The board extended the contract with Burley Middleton for temporary school district treasurer duties.

Also approved was student handbooks for all campuses with minor wording changes.

The contracts for guidance counselor and special education director were extended 10 days to allow more time state testing time and end of the year reports.

Sequoyah County Times

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