February 5, 1997
On December 20, 1996, Granite City?s girls? basketball coach, Chuck Kraus, appeared to be agitated during the halftime conference with his players. After minutes of yelling, he began to use profanity. Five minutes later, he picked up a bench and threw it across the locker room. Assistant coach John Moad tried to settle Kraus down, but he failed. The coach pushed him into the lockers and tossed chalk into his face. This halftime outburst cost Coach Kraus a three game suspension. The first practice after his suspension, Kraus held a meeting with the players and the parents. Jan Shanefelt, the starting point guard of the varsity team, asked the coach why he came back, the girls liked playing under Coach Moad better. Quickly, Kraus became agitated and threw a hard chest pass that hit Jan in the arm. The next day Kraus wrote a letter of resignation for the rest of the year and will resume his duties in the fall of ?97. Should Coach Kraus just get suspended for the rest of the year, or should he never be allowed to coach again? I think Coach Kraus should be fired without any hesitation.
Many of the players and the parents wanted Kraus fired after the first incident, and they definitely want him fired now. In school systems today, many incidents similar to this happen often. Are athletic coaches today given too much power and think they can do whatever they think can improve the team? The coaches should be setting examples to the players, not putting them down. Athletics are not about winning and losing, it is about getting the most out of your players. Sometimes the players lose their concentration during the game and need to be reassured during the halftime discussion. Verbal abuse does not help the players at all. Coaches also need to remember that they are teaching teenagers, not adults. Teenage girls look up to their coaches, and lean toward them for guidance.
After the first incident, Coach Kraus claimed to be sick which gave him a short temper. The December 22 issue of the Granite City Journal supported Kraus, saying “he is not the type of man to lose control like that. As much as Kraus has given to the girls? team, he shouldn?t be punished for using profanity one time.” The school board President Jeff Parker stated “he is not a person that coaches for the money, he coaches because of his affection for the kids.” These are just some of the explanations in Kraus?s defense to help persuade the school not to punish him.
The anticipated return of Coach Kraus to the team was definitely not what the players and parents had expected. Some of the players were not expecting anything to happen, but they were not suprised when it did. Kara Coleman, a junior, said “There was no way that Jan could have caught that ball. It was thrown too hard to be caught. Everyone on the team had the same story, and this time, Kraus couldn?t make excuses. Granite City High School?s Athletic Director, Jerry McKechan, was standing in the gym when the incident happened. He said there was no reason for Kraus to loose control the way he did.
The school board had a meeting the next day to decide the fate of Chuck Kraus. Before they could agree on the appropriate decision, Kraus turned in his resignation letter. He informed the board that he will take a leave of absence from his basketball duties for the remainder of the year. Once again, the Granite City papers praised Kraus and printed that they are looking forward to his return next year. If the school board wants to do the right thing, they will make sure he never coaches again. If it was my sister that he threw the ball at, he wouldn?t have wanted to come back after the distress he would have gone through. Currently, the team has gone 4-2 since Moad took over (they were 1-8 under Kraus.) If the school wants to keep a girls? basketball team, they should either make sure Kraus stays away or all the players will quit.