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Ronan basketball coach’s rehire tabled

RONAN – The Ronan School Board tabled the rehiring of head girls’ basketball coach Shelly Buhr on April 13 after parents requested a meeting to discuss the future of the sports program. 

The board said it would reconsider hiring Buhr at an upcoming meeting. 

“I would encourage all parties to meet with the building administrator, athletic director and coach as soon as possible,” chairman Bob Cornwell said, adding that delaying the hire could have a trickle-down effect on summer training camps and getting assistant coaching staff in place. 

When Buhr’s rehire was brought up for consideration, a handful of parents said they had concerns about Buhr’s coaching, although they declined to specify exactly what those issues were. The parents said they would prefer to offer specifics of the situations to the board and administrators in a different setting. 

Salish Kootenai College basketball coach, Ronan alumnus, and parent Zachary Conko-Camel said he had high expectations for the team’s future. 

“I want our kids to win state,” Camel said. “I think we have a couple kids coming up through the ranks that have ability.” 

Camel said he saw coaching blunders during the season and hoped things would improve. They didn’t, in his opinion. 

Principal Kevin Kenelty and Athletic Director Courtney Fisher said they had received very little feedback from parents during the season. 

“What I would like, in fairness to our coaches, is that these things come through our athletic director and up to me so we can handle these concerns either in-season or before the recommendations get brought before the board,” Kenelty said. “If they don’t like the recommendations after we’ve had these discussions, then by all means bring it (to the board.) But in fairness to my coaches, it’s tough to defend yourself when you don’t know what’s coming forth.”

Kenelty pointed out that the girls’ team was one win away from going to the state basketball tournament in the recently concluded season. 

“I’m kind of blindsided by this,” Kenelty said. “I haven’t received these complaints, and I would like to be able to field those.” 

Some parents said they weren’t familiar with the chain of command and didn’t know who to direct their comments to. Board member Rich Janssen said he could understand if some people didn’t want to complain mid-season. 

The board did not set a deadline for the meeting to be held. Buhr declined to comment in the matter. 

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