Posted by: gdevi | March 8, 2017

Firing Coach Joel Blesh

Here is my letter to the editor regarding the firing of LHU women’s swim coach Joel Blesh.

I am writing to express my deep concern and sadness at the firing of Lock Haven University women’s swim coach, Joel Blesh, by LHU administration this week.

Coach Blesh was one of the first people that I met when I moved here in 2005.

For those first several years, Coach Blesh coached the YMCA Loggerheads swim team where my child, and several other children from Lock Haven, Mill Hall, Beech Creek, and other neighboring communities swam.

Coach Blesh brought out the enthusiastic swimmer in those children. He was patient and thoughtful, and watched each child’s swimming and technique closely. I can still see Coach Blesh by the side of the YMCA pool with his clipboard in his hand or kneeling down telling the boys and girls how to perfect what they were doing in the water. We, the parents, found him to be a knowledgeable, caring and decent human being and a coach. We loved the meets at the LHU Zimmerli pool where our children–then in the area’s elementary schools — swam. We made and sold food for the concession stands. Maybe one day our children would swim for LHU, we thought. There was great pride in seeing the names of all the LHU swimmers, their meets, events and times hanging around the pool. We were happy to see Coach Blesh’s wife Kasey’s name there as well. We were happy and proud when Coach Blesh became the LHU women’s swim coach.

The Lock Haven University “Alma Mater” song projects a certain warm and fuzzy image of our university:

Where the ivied tower measures

Time for work and play;

Time for sports and songs and laughter

Through each pleasant day;

Where enduring friendships flourish

Sturdy through the years;

Where learning leads to early wisdom

Substance of careers.

I do believe that a university can be a home for the values listed in the above song. However, the manner in which Coach Blesh was fired at Lock Haven University shows no wisdom, friendship, common decency, or humanity.

Coach Blesh’s email was cut off around 9:30 Monday morning; his keys were taken from him during a coach’s meeting, and he was asked to come back at 4:15 in the evening to clean out his office.

The only thing flourishing in the above actions is disdain and disrespect for a coach, a colleague, and a good human being who has served this university and this community with love, talent, and dedication over the years.

It is a shameful day for the university; a day and an action not worthy of the sons and daughters who built up this university in this community through the years.


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