NEGAUNEE - The Negaunee school board on Monday hired a new coaching staff for its girls basketball program, an issue that had caused some controversy at the board's June meeting.
The board approved Brandon Sager as the new girls varsity basketball coach.
Sager replaces former coach Gregg Nelson.
This year, the board decided to take over direct hiring of district coaches, which had been handled by a third-party hiring firm, requiring all coaches who were not staff members of the district to reapply for their positions.
Superintendent Jim Derocher said the board's decision to not rehire Nelson stemmed from issues that extended into previous years, but came into public light in the 2011-2012 school year when a bullying issue arose on the team.
"There were some issues with Coach Nelson and the way he handled the girls prior to this year," Derocher said. "This was not the first incident."
The incident from the most recent school year stemmed from the handling of the bullying issue. At a previous school board meeting, team members told the board Nelson had chastised the team for their behavior. Those who spoke at the meeting said Nelson had sworn at the team during a talk about bullying.
The players that did speak at the meeting, however, were in support of Nelson being rehired as coach of the team for 2012.
Sager is a resident of the Negaunee district, a former athlete for Northern Michigan University and a current employee of the university, Derocher said.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.