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Holmes to appeal coach ruling

January 21, 1998

Holmes to appeal coach ruling

By DON AINES

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The battle for the bench isn't over yet, according to the attorney for Martinsburg High School basketball coach Victor L. Holmes.

"We're going to appeal. We're getting the papers together now," Danny Staggers said Tuesday.

Holmes will remain as coach of the Bulldogs through the end of this season despite a ruling last week by the West Virginia Education and State Employees Grievance Board to reinstate former coach Dave Rogers.

Staggers described Holmes as "very disappointed and we feel the hearing examiner made many, many errors."

Rogers and Holmes have been rotating in and out of the coach's seat for several seasons.

Rogers resigned after the 1993-94 season to become principal of South Middle School and Holmes was hired as interim coach. Rogers' attorney, Larry Schultz, claims his client was improperly told by then-superintendent James Bennett that principals could not serve as coaches.

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The school system hired Rogers for the coaching post for the 1995-96 season after both he and Holmes applied for it. Holmes appealed to the grievance board and won in January 1996, although he waited until the 1996-97 season to take the helm.

Rogers appealed that ruling and the grievance board last week said he could be reinstated.

Staggers said Holmes' appeal can be filed in either the Kanawha County or Berkeley County circuit courts, but no decision has been made.

The attorney said the board of education's decision in October 1995 to hire Rogers over Holmes was "pretty arbitrary and capricious."

In the hearing for Holmes' successful appeal, Staggers said "one of the board members said they met informally and decided not to hire Vic Holmes before any resumes or applications had even been filed."

Staggers said the hearing examiner who decided in Rogers' favor "didn't even mention it in his decision."

"Hopefully, we can get that before a court that will consider all the information we have to submit," Staggers said.

Rogers said Monday night he did not want to disrupt the continuity of the team and will wait until the season is over before attempting to have his reinstatement put into effect.

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