BROOKLYN, Mich. — A Columbia Schools investigation has concluded that varsity basketball coach Troy Stewart did not physically or mentally abuse his players.
Officials undertook the investigation after hearing complaints from parents within the school district.
A document from the Columbia School District administration said they reviewed concerns from parents by focusing on two questions: Did Stewart physically and mentally abuse the players? And, if he did, what are the consequences?
According to Board President Bob Wahr, former Athletic Director Josh Kubiak interviewed the players and officials feel confident in the findings of the report.
“I know that our athletic director interviewed a lot of players...” Wahr said. “It did take time to reach out to everybody and we did find there was not abuse and mental abuse. The board was confident in the finding and that we felt it was a very fair process and full due process was followed.”
The investigation did identify areas for improvement, however.
Officials want Stewart to improve communication with players and their parents and to work with the athletic director to improve the management of the basketball program.
“Really, what that means is that it always should be that close relationship with a boss and a coach,” Wahr said. “So, really it just means that they maintain an open line of communication and work together for the success of the program.”
In January, concerned parents sent an anonymous letter to Superintendent Pamela Campbell saying Stewart’s behavior has created a toxic environment.
Two documented incidents involve Stewart’s son Ethan, who is a starter on the team. In one incident, Stewart was seen allegedly aggressively throwing a basketball at his son’s back. Assistant coaches witnessed it and tried to de-escalate the situation.
In another incident, he was seen shoving his son towards the locker room after he received a technical foul in a game. Some parents believe it was uncalled for and demonstrated an example of toxic behavior.
Stewart declined to comment on the investigation.
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