WHS senior Jeremiah Frisby (standing right), with notes in hand, addresses members of the Wellston City Schools Board of Education during a special meeting held Wednesday night, July 14. Frisby, who was joined by eight other members of the WHS Golden Rocket football team, spoke on behalf of the entire group, urging the Board to reverse its decision from the previous week denying substitute teacher Chris Ellcessor a JV football coaching position. Board members Brian Kilgour and Terry Gill are shown looking on, along with District Treasurer Tami Downard. (Telegram Photo by Phillip Buffington)
WHS senior Jeremiah Frisby (standing right), with notes in hand, addresses members of the Wellston City Schools Board of Education during a special meeting held Wednesday night, July 14. Frisby, who was joined by eight other members of the WHS Golden Rocket football team, spoke on behalf of the entire group, urging the Board to reverse its decision from the previous week denying substitute teacher Chris Ellcessor a JV football coaching position. Board members Brian Kilgour and Terry Gill are shown looking on, along with District Treasurer Tami Downard. (Telegram Photo by Phillip Buffington)

After he was denied a coaching position for the Wellston High School (WHS) junior varsity (JV) football team during the Tuesday night, July 6 meeting of the Wellston City Schools Board of Education by a vote of 2 to 3, Chris Ellcessor, who serves the district as a substitute teacher, saw that decision reversed the following week in a special Board meeting. The Board members voting against Ellcessor’s coaching spot during the July 6 meeting were Jennifer Pittman, Brian Kilgour and Betty Jenkins.

At the start of the special meeting, held Wednesday night, July 14, Superintendent Karen Boch said she had spoken with members of the WHS football squad the previous week, following the Board’s decision to deny Ellcessor the coaching position. She explained that a senior member of the varsity team, Jeremiah Frisby, had asked to speak that night regarding that decision.

Frisby took the floor inside the WHS cafetorium, explaining first that his words were representative of the entire team’s stance. After thanking the Board and Boch for the opportunity to speak, he began to detail the various positive impacts Ellcessor had on the young men in the short amount of time he was present. Frisby said Ellcessor was “a great asset” to the team, that he was accepted well, and that he was “truly there for the team.”

“At seven-on-seven, he was just as involved as the other coaches,” Frisby said. “He was on the sideline running the clock and the down markers, just helping out any way he could.”

Next, Frisby pointed out that Ellcessor had been denied coaching positions in Wellston and other school districts prior to this instance, noting his willingness to return and try again.

“I feel it truly shows that he wants to be a part of our program and what we’re trying to build here,” the young man said.

In conclusion, Frisby urged the Board to reconsider its previous decision and to not “overlook the opportunity” to have Ellcessor – someone whom he said would help the team succeed.

Nathan Molihan, a Wellston business owner and resident, likewise broached the subject, asking why Ellcessor was not allowed to coach if he was allowed to teach.

Molihan asked, “He’s not good enough to be in the locker room, but he is good enough to be in the classroom?” He then went on to say, “Not many guys are knocking down the door to coach in Wellston, especially this late in the season. Trust these kids and trust yourselves; you hired him as a teacher, back your decision.”

Following the comments, Pittman requested an executive session to discuss the matter with Ellcessor in private. After roughly 30 minutes, the Board returned and took a vote. This time around, Ellcessor was unanimously approved for the JV football coaching position for the 2021-2022 school year.

Once the meeting had concluded, an emotional Ellcessor was embraced by each of the nine WHS football team members present, individually.