A group of current athletes and recent graduates at Littlestown High School spoke in support of recently fired boys' basketball and girls' track and field coach Scott Motter at Monday night's school board meeting.
During the public participation period at the beginning of the meeting, five members of the girls' track team and one member of the boys' basketball team spoke about the positive influence Motter had on them, asking the board to reverse its decision. Motter was informed he would not return as the head coach of either team about two weeks ago.
Most of the students became emotional while reading letters they had written about their former coach. Rising senior Kristen Langrill, who missed her entire sophomore season of track after tearing her ACL, broke into tears talking about how Motter helped her regain her confidence after the injury.
"Coach Motter was family to me and gave me wings to fly," Langrill said. "I had knee surgery and he was the coach that encouraged me so much. I won 15 medals this season, and they're all because of him."
Littlestown School Board President Dolores Nester thanked the students for speaking, but said that the board will not be changing its decision and Motter will not coach either sport next season. She added that she could not elaborate on the reasons behind the decision but that Motter had been notified of them.
"It was a board decision, along with the administration, that Coach Motter not return as a basketball coach and a track coach, it was a united decision," Nester said. "Personnel issues will not be discussed outside of the executive session. I think we all understand that there are extenuating circumstances to this situation, and Coach Motter has been informed as to why the circumstances are that he will not be brought back."
Prior to the meeting, Littlestown athletic director Jeff Laux said he would not be able to comment on the issue.
Motter went just 16-72 in four years as the boys' basketball coach, but the Thunderbolts improved from 1-21 in 2014-15 to 7-15 this past season. He coached the girls' track team to a 1-5 dual meet record in 2015-16 but also helped coach a boys' team that tied for the Division III title. He began his coaching career at the school in 2007 as an assistant football coach.
Basketball player Kobe Towner and track athletes Bre Smith, Samantha Rudisill, Maddie Abrams and Jasmine Bankert were the other students who spoke at the meeting. All of them spoke about the passion Motter had for his job and the level of compassion he showed to his athletes.
"Now I'm heading into my senior year, and without Coach Motter it won't be the same," Towner said. "He made us a family, a band of brothers to to say. His passion for the game is like no other."
"Coach Motter once said to me, 'The way you do anything is the way you do everything,'" Smith said. "I believe the way he treated me is the way he treated every single one of his athletes, with complete and utter dedication and support. It breaks my heart to know that some people fail to see him this way. It breaks my heart that there are rising athletes in the Littlestown community who will never be able to have Coach Motter."