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Perham parents air grievances against high school basketball coach at school board meeting

PERHAM -- Disgruntled parents of student-athletes aired their grievances during the "open forum" segment of the Perham School Board meeting Jan. 20.

At issue was the boys basketball program.

Reading a statement was Brenda Dewar, who called on administrators and the board to reconstruct the program. She said her kids and other have been "hurt" by the basketball program, and was also critical of head coach Dave Cresap for what she considered harsh and sometimes abusive treatment toward the players.

Other parents who have sent letters to administrators and coaches include Amy Babler and John and Becky Schornack. A half-dozen other parents were cited in one of the correspondence as concurring with the criticism of the program.

Issues revolve around playing time for athletes, coaching style, and putting younger players on the court instead of giving juniors and seniors more playing time.

The board listened to the concerns. But the matter was not taken up as a discussion item.

Cresap has been intense and sometimes controversial with his coaching methods and style during his approximate 15 years with the Perham program, acknowledged Fred Sailer, school activities director, but many believe he has played a major role in building and sustaining a successful program.

Issues with parents have surfaced, and administrators have placed Cresap on an "improvement plan," said Sailer. Cresap has been facing up to many of the concerns and has shown substantial progress, according to Sailer.