Archive for Tuesday, October 27, 1998


October 27, 1998


After three hours of deliberation during a closed executive session, the Lawrence School Board on Monday night decided to terminate the supplemental contract of a Lawrence Free State High coach.

Formerly the head coach of Free State's boys and girls cross country and girls basketball teams, Ward Brethour was fired for displaying what the board termed a "pattern of decision-making which places students at risk of harm."

He was relieved of his cross country duties about a month ago after allegations arose that he put members of the cross country team at risk on separate occasions.

After meeting with Free State athletics director Steve Grant, principal Joe Snyder and others, board members voted to end his contract for cross country and girls basketball. No successor has been named for either team. Former Free State assistant Steve Heffernan is now interim head cross country coach.

Board president Maley Wilkins said board members could not comment on personnel matters.

According to the resolution passed Monday night, Brethour on Sept. 12 allowed athletes to drive in private vehicles -- "at excessive rates of speed" -- to a cross country meet in Olathe. Then on Sept. 28, Brethour directed members of the cross country team to run along a dangerous stretch of U.S. Highway 40.

Brethour will continue to teach business classes at Free State.

"This is unrelated to his teaching," said Marcia Bone, the Lawrence school district's director of human resources.

-- Matt Gowen's phone message number is 832-7222. His e-mail address is

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