After scoring another important win March 21, Johnstown-Monroe High School football coach Mike Carter was still declining to comment on the situation at the end of the week.

After scoring another important win March 21, Johnstown-Monroe High School football coach Mike Carter was still declining to comment on the situation at the end of the week.

The J-M Board of Education voted 5-0 March 21 to remove Carter as athletics director/dean of students and football coach, then in a last-minute addition to the agenda, voted 3-2 to name him in a separate contract as football coach.

Controversy had been percolating over Carter's position since the fall, when Superintendent Damien Bawn first said he wanted to restructure the two positions of athletics director and football coach.

It was revealed for the first time publicly during Monday's meeting that part of what the board had considered was a 2008 arrest for driving under the influence. Carter denied that charge and reached a plea agreement for failure to maintain physical control of a vehicle.

It was unclear, however, to what degree the arrest had caused board members to act. Several said that Carter's role as both athletics director and football coach was too much for one position, in addition to Carter's duties as dean of students at the high school.

For most of the meeting it was also unclear whether Carter was being retained at all, including his full-time job as dean of students. At one point, after more than two hours, board member Karen Blair told the crowd of more than 200, "You folks do realize Mr. Carter still has a job?"

The public agenda for the meeting had stated that the board would decide a motion to "approve Non-Renewal of the Administrator/Supervisor Contract of William Michael Carter, effective as of the end of William Michael Carter's current contract on July 31, 2011."

After the board voted unanimously to approve the motion, Carter's wife, Angela, tearfully addressed the board.

"My husband has bled for this school," she said. "I have given up so much and so have my children. He is a good man."

Board members Jay Young and Polly Moore both said their votes had to do with the need to restructure the two athletics positions. The motion to name Carter as football coach was added during the meeting by board member Jay Young.

For 30 minutes after the board had voted to non-renew Carter's existing contract as athletics director and football coach, Carter, board member Terry Holter and others addressed the DUI charge, with Carter emotionally arguing with Terry Holter.

As the two-and-a-half-hour meeting wound down, Johnstown Mayor Kevin Riffe said the board was not clear about why it was acting.

"We've heard three board members talk about restructuring the athletics director's position because it's just too overwhelming," Riffe said. "But Holter's point is a whole different issue. Which is it?"

After several board members spoke about the difficult public role and the criticisms they had endured for several months, the board voted on the motion to name Carter as football coach next year. With Moore and Young having voted yes and Holter voting no, the audience applauded when Blair voted yes. After the applause died down, board president John Davis voted no, making the final vote to keep Carter as coach 3-2.

The audience, including Davis, gave Carter a standing ovation.

Bawn said Ohio law mandates that teachers and administrators be offered positions in the district if their contract is non-renewed, under conditions similar to the non-renewal of Carter's contract.

"That person is entitled to a position in the district for which they are qualified," Bawn said. "It's my current understanding he's entitled to a teaching position."

Bawn said he believed Carter is eligible to teach physical education.

The athletics director/dean of students job is not being .filled yet, Bawn said, and he does not know if the responsibilities will be kept within a single contract or separated into two positions.

"Until we know about what is happening with education funding, there are no solid plans about the job," he said.

ThisWeek first reported the story online March 21. For more breaking news, visit www.ThisWeekNews.com