-By Katie Zerr
The Mobridge-Pollock School Board at a special meeting Wednesday, July 23, accepted the resignations of volleyball coaches Keri and Rick Bolduan and voted to immediately advertise to fill the head coaching job.
A crowd of more than 20 people, including part of the volleyball team, attended the meeting. Those who spoke to the school board supported the Bolduans and requested the board refuse to accept their resignations.
After instructions from Superintendent Tim Frederick on the regulations concerning the public forum, several in the audience addressed the board.
Mobridge-Pollock senior volleyball player Aundrea Kramer told the board that because of the number of girls who play volleyball, the Bolduans have been put in a tough position.
“Any person coaching the team would have a hard time playing all of the girls,” she said.
Another player, Brandi Martian, said she would like to have seen the conflict resolved in a manner that was fair to the coaches and not in the manner in which it played out.
“No one asked us about what was going on,” she said. “Is a new coach going to solve any of this problem?”
Maranda Wagner, another senior on the team, pointed out she had been coached by the Bolduans since her freshman year. She addressed the rumor that certain players had been at a pool party hosted by the coaches. She told the board none of the players in the room had ever been in the pool at the Bolduan home.
A former volleyball player and Mobridge High School graduate, Amanda (Nink) Silbernagel, told the board she had been one of those who didn’t make the starting line-up as a senior when the Bolduans were coaching. She told the board she was upset by their actions but it made her work harder, made her a better player and when she worked her way into the starting line-up it made her appreciate it more.
“It saddens me that is happening to our volleyball program,” she said. “They (the Bolduans) have become mentors and lifelong friends to kids they have coached. I know, because I am one of them.”
She pointed out the admitted failures of many great athletes, using Michael Jordan as an example, and how not making his high school basketball team helped him strive to get better and set him on the path to greatness.
She implored the board to think about the future and not just the moment. She said the players would struggle without the leadership of the Bolduans. She also pointed out that in the past 10 years, the Mobridge-Pollock volleyball team had a 217-win, 90-loss record, had won seven district championships and made six trips to the state tournament with Bolduans at the helm. She said the coaches held camps for the players, work with young players in the community and have volunteered many hours to help with other Mobridge-Pollock events.
“These girls deserve to have Rick and Keri as their coach,” she said.
Both John and Sharon Martin spoke noting the Bolduans’ professional manner with the program and voiced concern about the team with only three weeks before the season will start.
“These girls have been through a lot with basketball and now volleyball,” said Sharon Martin. “This has been stressful for them. I want these girls to be able to enjoy this time in their lives. There is chaos in the sports program right now.”
Another parent, Sara Redmond, who has younger students in the Mobridge-Pollock School District, said her daughter plays volleyball because of Rick and Keri Bolduan. She commended the coaches for the many hours of their time they donate to the younger players. She said she is concerned about the type of message this situation is sending to the students of the district.
“This is not the kind of lesson I want my kids to learn,” she told the board.
Board president Harry “Bingo” Kindt addressed the group before the board went into executive session to discuss the matter. He told them this has been a very stressful situation for the members of the board and the administration. He said he knew it was troubling for them but it was troubling for the board as well.
“We do not want another black eye for our school district,” he said. “We have to do what is right and what is legal.”
Martin urged the board to focus their decision on the kids.
“They are what is most important here,” she said.
After the executive session, the board reconvened and Kindt told the group the board had little choice but accept the resignation of the coaches.
“There is nothing we can do legally to protect these coaches,” he said. “At the advice of our attorney, we have to accept their decision and their resignations.”
He said the Bolduans were asked to reconsider, but they declined.
Board member Eric Stoeder said that he wanted to note the appreciation of the district for years the Bolduans had dedicated to the district and the program.
“It is with great regret that I make a motion to accept the resignations of Rick and Keri Bolduan,” he said.
The board approved the motion and then approved to advertise to fill the positions immediately.
The parents asked the board members what the plan is now that the team is without a coach so close to the opening of the season. Sharon Martin said there are things that need to be done now.
Stroeder said the board and administration want to bring some stability to the program so the girls will know they have support.
Sharon Martin said the parents will help with anything that needs to be done and she would like to see a committee set up to deal with things like ordering shoes, T-shirts and getting the program set for the season.
“We want to protect our kids and this program,” she told the board. “Things like this just shouldn’t happen.”
Frederick told the group they would find a coach for the program and reassured them they would be kept informed about what is happening.
The Bolduans were contacted by the Tribune after the meeting and said they preferred not to comment.