Schuckman: Lack of answers from school board puts Quincy in murky situation

Posted: Mar. 27, 2014 8:17 am Updated: Jul. 1, 2015 10:52 am

The question was posed before the Quincy School Board adjourned its Wednesday morning meeting.

Who's next?

A better question would have been this.

Why now?

The board voted 6-0 with one member abstaining to terminate Sean Taylor as the Quincy High School boys basketball coach following 194 victories over 11 seasons. Following the meeting, Board President Stephanie Erwin read a prepared statement regarding Taylor's termination but declined to answer questions about the decision.

It's opened the door for speculation.

Some have suggested the decision was a knee-jerk reaction to a letter written by former QHS player Luka Radovic after he quit the team in January and was later made public on social media. I don't believe so. Assessments of all extracurricular activities are ongoing, and the board members had been evaluating the boys basketball program for a considerable amount of time.

One letter didn't change the board's thinking.

Neither did the Blue Devils' strong finish.

Sitting at 5-8 in late January, they made defensive adjustments to take advantage of athletic big men and put together quite a run. Quincy went 10-4 the remainder of the season, finishing 7-3 and in second place in the Western Big Six Conference and reaching a regional title game.

The Blue Devils avenged a regular-season loss to state-ranked Alton by upsetting the Redbirds in convincing style in the regional semifinals. The season ended in a loss to Edwardsville, which went on to finish fourth in the Class 4A state tournament.

Some suggested it was one of Taylor's best coaching jobs.

Others saw another year without a regional title as a failure.

A century of being one of the best programs in Illinois raises expectations to that level. It was the board's duty to listen to the criticism that Taylor's teams didn't win enough, but it was also the board's duty to learn what sort of impact Taylor had on his players and assistant coaches.

That's where this story gets a little murky.

Taylor said he was told he had the support of the high school administration, yet the board's decision suggests it ignored any recommendations from those administrators. Or maybe the board didn't ask for any recommendations and made the decision without consulting Taylor's immediate supervisors.

These are questions many people have asked. These are questions elected officials should answer.

If you're chosen to serve by the public, you become a voice of the public and you should answer to the public.

Certainly in this case, the public wants to know.

That's because the answers to these questions could impact the coaching search significantly.

Names of several potential candidates have already circulated. Liberty coach Andy Douglas, former Quincy Notre Dame coach Scott Douglas and Centralia coach Lee Bennett seem to be the most popular among QHS fans.

There may be no interest from any of them. There may be significant interest. Until the parameters of the search are defined and it begins in earnest, no one can be sure.

The only certainty is this: Anyone applying better ask why now.

We'll be waiting for that answer.


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