Nature Coast removes Travis Lamle as girls basketball coach (UPDATED: 8:29 p.m.)



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Thu. May 27, 2010 | Tony Marrero

BROOKSVILLE — Travis Lamle wanted to be the one to break the news to the team that would no longer be his to lead.

In recent days, there had been rumblings in the Hernando school district that Lamle, the girls basketball coach at Nature Coast Tech, was the focus of an investigation involving a student.


On Thursday, Heather Martin, the district’s executive director of business services, confirmed to the Times that there has been an investigation and that it closed this week.


She refused to elaborate on the nature of the probe or the findings. A report will be available to the public in the coming weeks.


But the head of the local teacher union said Lamle has been reprimanded for having off-campus contact with a female student.


“Nothing was close to being criminal in nature, nothing that’s considered an ethical violation, but the district wanted to ensure that nothing was leading to that,” said Joe Vitalo, president of the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association. 


Lamle, who teaches physical education and health, would say only that he would be retained as a teacher. His personnel file was not available for review Thursday.


Earlier in the day, Nature Coast principal Toni-Ann Noyes and athletic director Kristen Peeples informed the team that Lamle was out as coach. A team meeting was held, Peeples said, “so there was no surprises.” Lamle had wanted to meet with the team, but Noyes and Peeples decided against that, Peeples said. 


Noyes declined to comment.


District officials have in recent years become very sensitive to issues of alleged teacher misconduct involving students after some high-profile cases, several of which occurred at Nature Coast, Vitalo said. 


One case resulted in a prison sentence last year for former band director Tim Brightbill, who was found guilty of having a sexual relationship with an underage female student. Jamie Joyner, who guided the school’s football program, resigned last year after it was revealed he had a romantic relationship with a female Nature Coast student. The girl’s parents suspected the relationship began before she turned 18, but a sheriff’s investigation could not substantiate those allegations. 


Ryan Wilson, who coaches several sports, was cleared in February of an investigation into text messages between him and a female Nature Coast student. He has since returned to teaching and coaching at the school, but is prohibited from coaching girls sports until 2012. 


“Because of the situations that have happened in the past with other individuals, the district is just being very cautious (in Lamle’s case),” Vitalo said.


Lamle, who joined the district in 2000 as a middle school physical education teacher, was removed as Nature Coast’s athletic director in August as part of the fallout stemming from recurring problems with the football program, which has had three head coaches since April 2009.


Lamle coached the girls for three seasons to an overall record of 61-22. The Sharks went 17-9 last season.


Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or [email protected] Izzy Gould can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 421-3886.


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