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Antioch Cheer Coach Resigns

Dawes to officially step down after board of education meeting March 16.

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Thursday evening the District 117 school board gathered at Lakes Community High School in the upper ILC to discuss a matter of topics, one being the request for resignation of Antioch Varsity cheerleading coach Matthew Dawes.

Over 40 people were in attendance, including most of the cheer team. Most were there to speak on behalf of Dawes and ask the board to consider denying his request.

“Matt is the most dedicated coach I have ever had the pleasure [of knowing],” Stacey Torres, mother of varsity cheerleader Emily Torres, said. “I know that you have on your plate today a letter to honor his resignation. I know that resigning is not something that Matt chose to do; he was asked to do. I don’t know the specific situation that occurred, but I do know he was acting out of concern and kindness for someone on his team—a team he sees as family. And when a member of that family is in a bad situation, he takes it to heart and that is what happened. He was listening to his heart.”

While the reason behind the request for resignation is still unknown, many cheerleaders, their parents and community members had something to say about the situation. Shortly after Dawes’ resignation, D117 staff received an email detailing protocol for dealing with students in difficult situations. However the staff wasn’t primed about the nature of this issue, nor the purpose of student services’ need to send this email. Dawes’ cheerleaders feel his impact was far reaching and always important.

“Coming into high school I was personally going down the wrong path making a lot of mistakes and I can say that Matt is the reason I am where I am today,” junior Aubrey Kay, speaking on Dawes’ behalf, said. “He pushed me and has gotten me out of a lot of [messes]. I know that he would do that for anyone of us. You will not find someone for caring or more hardworking. He is more than a coach; he is there whenever you need him and I have never been able to find someone like that. He is the reason for [the cheer team’s] success and we need him more than anything.”

Torres mentioned how his gratitude when beyond cheerleading.

“It went past the varsity cheer team, it extended to the community of Antioch as a whole,” Torres said. “He is not just a coach; he is a mentor, a volunteer, a friend and sometimes a family member.

Paula Grosche, one of the head coaches for Antioch Vikings Cheer, went on to discuss her gratitude for Dawes. Grosche explained all of the time and effort Dawes put into making sure the Vikings girls had music, proper cheer clinics, cheer camps and helping them in any other way possible.

“By doing this not only does our music stand out at competitions. but it has also saved the Antioch Vikings roughly $3,000 a year,” Grosche said.

After many compelling speeches made on the open floor, a board member made a request for the topic considering Matthew Dawes’ resignation to be removed from the agenda and discussed in a private meeting. The request was then voted on by the board with a unanimous decision to remove the topic from that night’s agenda.

After discussing the remaining topics on the agenda, the board left to discuss the matter of Dawes’ resignation in a private room. After an hour and forty minutes of deliberation, the board filed back into where the public was held and took their seats.

Roll was then called to have each board member state whether “yes” they approve his resignation or “no” they do not approve of it. One by one each board member voted “yes,” with many adding in that it was with regret.

After the announcement of the approval for Dawes’ recognition, many that were in attendance stood up to leave. Many were upset by this decision with one member in the crowd saying, “I hope you know you’re letting these girls and this community down with this decision.”

Despite the approval for resignation, many commented on how they will still continue to remember Dawes as the coach he was.

“I am grateful for the opportunity I had to have Matt Dawes as my coach for the past three years,” senior Alexa Castino said. “I know that moving forward the program will continue to prosper due to the precedent set by Robin Gwinn and Matt Dawes. No matter who fills the open head coaching position, the cheerleading team will remain strong because of the dedication and determination of each athlete. Matt’s passion and love for the sport of cheerleading resonated with my team and he will be remembered for making Antioch cheer a name to be reckoned with again.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Antioch Cheer Coach Resigns”

  1. Amber Bollinger on March 18th, 2017 10:19 am

    So disappointed by this decision. The impact will be felt at the school and the community. Very tough shoes to fill. The talent that is on the ACHS cheer team, and the talent coming in this year is beyond amazing. The new coach has some high standards to live up to to coach this level of talent.

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Antioch Cheer Coach Resigns