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Board confirms soccer coach after delay

A coaching appointment delayed because of protests by athletes went to the same person Wednesday night in a unanimous vote by the Lackawanna School Board.

Jacob Minnifield, a health science teacher certified in physical education, will coach the boys' junior varsity soccer team this year.

Minnifield's appointment originally was on the agenda for the board's August meeting, but the matter was tabled that night after 20 soccer players protested outside.

A representative of the soccer players -- all members of the city's Yemeni community -- questioned whether Minnifield was qualified to coach soccer.

Trustee John Makeyenko, who made the motion to table the appointment in August, also made the motion approving Minnifield's appointment Wednesday.

Makeyenko said that Minnifield's qualifications were looked into and that Minnifield also had met with members of the Yemeni community. "He's qualified to take the job," Makeyenko said.

In other business Wednesday, the board approved $14,600 in unanticipated expenses for the renovation of the swimming pool. That project was part of a $1.3 million proposition approved by voters in a special election last December.

In a letter to School Board members, Superintendent Paul G. Hashem explained that an inspection of the area indicated some erosion. It was recommended that a structural engineer take a look at it.

After the consultation, Hashem said, he was told that the beams show significant rust but not stress. It was recommended that the ceiling be removed and the beams sandblasted, then inspected for structural integrity.

Also Wednesday, the varsity baseball team was recognized for having won the Sportsmanship Award for the spring season from Section VI of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. It was the third straight year that the team, under coach Timothy Regan, has won the award.

The individual sportsmanship award went to Glen DiStefano.

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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