Crestline residents go to bat for boys basketball coach

CRESTLINE — A large crowd attended the Crestline Exempted Village School District Board of Education meeting Tuesday in hopes of confirming the future of the school’s boys basketball program.

Enough people attended the meeting that the public participation portion of the meeting was moved from the school media center to the cafeteria.

Five individuals spoke. All were in favor of retaining Rob Lisle as the varsity basketball coach.

Bud Snyder, who identified himself as a 1956 graduate of Crestline and a 30-year educator, was the first to speak. Snyder also mentioned he was a basketball coach in the past, with a stint at Crestline.

“I just want to know where Rob Lisle is going to be hired,” Snyder began. “We don’t know each other, but I’m here to support him.”

Snyder said he was using his own experiences to support Lisle.

“This is not an easy place to coach,” Snyder said. “It’s the only place I couldn’t win. It is not known as a basketball town. (Lisle) set a precedent by winning 11 games, and I used that as a gauge to conduct some research.”

Snyder used information from the past 60 seasons of boys’ basketball at Crestline High School in his research. He said that since 1958, only six teams won as many or more games than the 2017-18 team. He added the program has had 21 coaches during the 60 years.

“We’ve been in six conferences, because we keep trying to find a place where we can win,” Snyder said.

He said Crestline averaged just 5.9 wins per year.

“You gave to think ‘gee, maybe 11 wins isn’t too bad,’” Snyder said. “And my understanding is the players support him too.”

One player spoke in favor retaining Lisle. Referencing the Samuel L. Jackson movie “Coach Carter,” Triplett said Lisle “was my coach Carter. He taught us to be gentlemen on and off the court.”

Triplett then gave an example of what took place during the season.

“Every time I got in trouble, he was there to talk to me,” Triplett said. “I didn’t show up to two or three practices, and I didn’t play. I blamed the coaches then, but it was me. I ask you to give our coaches their jobs back.”

Triplett then gave an ultimatum of his own.

“If coach Lisle and coach (Zach) Massa don’t get their jobs back, I probably won’t play,” Triplett said.

Triplett averaged 12.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game during the 2017-18 season.

Crestline Board of Education President Jeff Wilhite said no decision on the matter would be made during the meeting, but confirmed a decision would be made and announced at the May board meeting.

He declined to comment on why the board as a body was hesitating to hire Lisle for the 2018-19 season or if any previous accusations or rumors played into the decision.

Lisle said he couldn’t be happier with the support he received during the meeting.

“That was awesome,” Lisle said. “I never would have imagined that.”

Lisle said he does believe part of the hesitation to hire him back is due to personal feelings.

“There are two people with some power that have personal vendettas against me,” Lisle said. “They try to come up with excuses every year and they can’t find anything, and I think they thought I would resign. This is the backlash.”

Lisle said he has no intention of leaving Crestline.

“I’ve had opportunities to go,” Lisle said. “But I played here, I’ve coached here forever with three years as a head coach. I don’t want to go. I want to turn this program around.”

Also on Tuesday, Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel announced the launching of the Crestline Village School District’s online checkbook on Crestline Village Schools is the second school district in Crawford County to post their spending on Crestline Schools’ online checkbook includes over 16,500 individual transactions that represent more than $21 million of total spending over the past two Fiscal Years.

“I believe the people of Crawford County have a right to know how their tax money is being spent, and I applaud local leaders here for partnering with my office to post the finances on,” Mandel said. “By posting local government spending online, we are empowering taxpayers across Ohio to hold public officials accountable.”

“Crestline School District is committed to building trust, communication, and transparency with our community,” said Crestline Village Schools treasurer Alina Nemec. “By joining the Ohio Checkbook website, we are making the District’s expenditure information available online in an easily accessible and user-friendly format. We are proud to demonstrate how our fiscally responsible use of tax dollars is benefiting our students and enriching our community.” was launched Dec. 2, 2014, marking the first time in Ohio history when citizens could actually see every expenditure in state government. The website displays more than $644 billion in spending over the past ten years, including more than 173 million transactions.

School board finance numbers now available online at

By James Massara

Crawford County Now