My Monday morning got off to a fast start when we received an anonymous tip about the Mitchell boys’ basketball program being put on probation for a year by the South Dakota High School Activities Association. To make a long story short, coach Gary Munsen was caught coaching a player or players out of season, which is a no-no.
That part of the story wasn’t really a surprise. Anybody who knows Gary Munsen knows this isn’t his first rodeo. He’s had great highs, including more than 600 career wins, but he’s also had embarrassing lows, including at least one previous probationary period with the SDHSAA, an arrest on domestic assault charges that were later dropped and a suspension by school administrators for reasons that were apparently never made public.
So, given what’s happened in the past, it’s not really a shocker that Gary Munsen is in a little bit of trouble. What was shocking, at least to me, was the response of school administrators.
You see, all of this stuff with Munsen went down in mid-April. The probation and some other disciplinary actions were handed down by the state Activities Association board at its April 19-20 meeting. Neither the public nor the media knew about it, though, because none of it was on the Activities Association agenda and school administrators in Mitchell didn’t tell anybody.
You read that correctly. Even though Superintendent Joe Graves and Activities Director Geoff Gross were fully aware of everything that had happened, they stayed silent about it. When our reporter called all five school board members yesterday, none of them knew anything about the situation. The administrators’ excuse? The Activities Association didn’t require them to tell the school board.
Maybe this is just me, but if you were on the school board, wouldn’t you expect your administrators to tell you about something as significant as the school’s most prominent and successful extracurricular program being put on probation for a year because of a rule violation?
And thus I return to the question in the title of this post. Who looks worse today: Munsen, or Mitchell School District’s administrators?