CEC Coach to Keep Job After 'Bullying' Allegations

Posted at: 04/08/2013 10:48 PM
Updated at: 04/09/2013 12:25 AM
By: Alan Hoglund

A Northland hockey coach will keep his job next year, after being accused of "bullying" by some players and parents.

Following a nearly three hour meeting of the Cloquet School Board monday night, members voted to allow Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Lumberjacks coach Dave Esse to continue as coach at least another year.

Esse described feeling happy about the decision.

Nearly 100 people packed into the board room at the start of the meeting, but many left after school officials said they wouldn't be allowed to make any public comments about Coach Esse. School officials told us it would have broken privacy laws.

Monday's meeting stems from allegations that Esse had bullied parents and players. Attorney Robert Mathias, who is representing those parents, sent a packet of statements to the school district describing alleged incidents dating back as far as a decade.

Mathias said complaints against Esse concern his "inability to control his temper which has resulted in outbursts laced with profanities."

Mathias also said complaints against Esse concern "conduct which sometimes included ridicule and harassment against players for the purpose of embarssing and belittling the players."

But Eyewitness News spoke with about two dozen people at the board meeting Monday and none said they were there to speak against the coach.

Lumberjacks' team videographer Ken Niven said among players, parents and fans "there is tremendous respect for Coach Esse and that is why I am here."

The board said they investigated every accusation thoroughly.