JEFFERSON – The Jefferson-Morgan School Board voted 7-2 Monday to hire Mike Lesko as head varsity wrestling coach following an executive session that lasted about three hours. Lesko previously held the position for six years before resigning in 2004 to spend more time with his children.
In 2007, Lesko returned to the sport as an assistant to Scott Rhodes, who resigned in April. During Lesko’s tenure as assistant and head coach, the Rockets had a 52-49 record, eight state qualifiers and one state medalist.
His coaching salary will be $3,770, a $1,370 increase over the coaching starting salary of $2,400.
Lesko had asked the board to be paid more than the starting salary, considering his past service. The president of the wrestling booster’s organization, Liz Conti, told the board at the previous meeting the organization was willing to supplement the amount because Lesko was the best candidate.
Board President Mark Pochran said Lekso’s $3,770 salary is being paid by the district.
“We really examined our coaches’ salaries for our head coach and assistant coaches. We’re expecting people to work here for less than minimum wage,” said board member John Hildebrand. “We need to think that out and analyze the coaches’ salaries for the coaches and assistant coaches and see what we can do there.”
Hildebrand was one of the two dissenting votes.
Board member Bob Mitchell, who cast the second dissenting vote, said, “This is not about the person; it’s the circumstances surrounding it that’s going to be a problem.”
Mitchell did not elaborate as to what circumstances he was referring.