Keep our coach
LAND O'LAKES - Going into the 2006-07 season, one word got used over and over to describe the Gulf High swim team: underdog. Under the leadership of coach Joe Lampkin, the team had a winning season, its first in years, with some swimmers competing at state. Then, after spring break, the school principal fired the coach.
That decision didn't sit well with the team. Twenty members and some parents came out in their school colors Tuesday night to urge the School Board to overturn the dismissal.
"He has been nothing but dedicated," said junior Keelie Peckham, who has been swimming competitively for 10 years. "Coach Lampkin is by far the best coach I have ever seen."
Team captain Ambere Hertzog said while Lampkin could be tough and demanding, he never demeaned students - one of the allegations against him. She said he set high goals and without him, it's unlikely the team will meet those goals. "Swimming is an individual sport with team results," she said. "By taking our coach, you have taken part of our team."
Board chairwoman Marge Whaley said she would refer the issue to superintendent Heather Fiorentino for review.