School board disciplines coach
Johnson out one year as head football coach
By Holly Neumann
The Manawa School Board maintained its decision to remove Brad Johnson as the head coach of the varsity football and wrestling teams for the 2018-19 academic year.
Records show High School Principal Dan Wolfgram was informed on March 20 that Johnson had distributed creatine and protein powder to student athletes and encouraged them to use performance enhancing supplements between September 2016 and September 2017.
Wolfgram and Athletic Director Skylar Liebzeit investigated the allegations, and Johnson admitted to the unauthorized distribution of the supplements.
On March 29, Johnson and District Administrator Melanie Oppor signed a Discipline Agreement.
Under the terms of the agreement, Johnson relinquished all duties associated with serving as the head varsity football and wrestling coach for the 2018-19 school year.
However, he may serve as an assistant varsity football and wrestling coach in 2018-19.
Johnson must also participate in continuing education classes for coaching, proper nutrition and training of student athletes.
Johnson will refrain from communicating with student athletes in the district via social media, using any “closed groups” or communicating via email with athletes unless he includes the athletic director on all such communications.
He will also refrain from any unsupervised interaction with student athletes in the district without the prior written consent of the administration.
Johnson will no longer oversee the weight training program during the 2018-19 school year. He may be present in the weight room only if he is supervised by someone approved of by the administration.
If Johnson complies with the terms of the agreement, the administration will recommend to the school board that he be assigned as the head football and wrestling coach for the 2019-2020 school year.
The district further agrees that in consideration for entering into this agreement, it will not seek to discharge Johnson at this time as a teacher in the district due to this misconduct.
Johnson also served an unpaid disciplinary suspension from his teaching position for five school days, which will remain a part of Johnson’s personnel records.
In a letter to Wolfgram, Wade Labecki, deputy director of the WIAA, said the health and safety of the student athletes is always at the forefront of the focus of the WIAA and its Sports Medical Advisory Committee.
“As you are now aware the scope of this concern as revealed by your investigation was considered by the WIAA to be a serious matter,” Labecki said. “Though many may view the corrective actions you have taken to be severe, they are regarded as responsive and appropriate by the WIAA. Had they not been taken, the sanctions the WIAA is authorized to apply would most certainly and adversely had an impact upon your student athletes.”
Johnson said he is disappointed in the severity of the consequences.
“The decision is final,” he said. “The book is closed and I accept my punishment and truly look forward to getting through this next year.”
How the Manawa School Board responded to other concerns raised by parents at the April 16 meeting will be reported in next week’s Waupaca County Post.