LATEST: Altoona athletics director removed from post - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

LATEST: Altoona athletics director removed from post

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Athletic Director James Oliver, News 18 Archive Footage: May 2013 Athletic Director James Oliver, News 18 Archive Footage: May 2013
Altoona Football Coach Steve English Altoona Football Coach Steve English
Altoona (WQOW) -

Altoona's controversial athletics director has been removed from the position.

On Monday, the Altoona School Board met in closed session, voting to allow James Oliver to keep his job as Dean of Students for the 2017-2018 school year.

But, Altoona Superintendent Connie Biedron said Oliver will not remain on as athletics director. His job came under scrutiny after his controversial firing of Head Football Coach Steve English.

Oliver later apologized, saying he had no authority to fire English. High School Principal Jason LeMay will serve as the athletics director until a replacement is hired.


Oct. 2, 2017:

After weeks of speculation, a local school board made a decision about the future of a member of the school staff.

On Monday night, the Altoona School Board, in a closed door session, voted unanimously in favor of allowing James Oliver to stay employed as Dean of Students. His job came into question after his controversial firing of head football coach Steve English. Whether he will also stay on as athletics director has not yet been made public.

Concerned parents and staff members during last Monday nights public session voiced their concerns about the lack of communication and transparency that has accompanied the situation. Once the decision was made both parents and board members said they were ready to move forward.

"I think this was tough for everyone. It was tough for staff, students, the administration, and it was for the school board. It was very intense, again in 10 years being on the school board I have never experienced something like this," Robin Elvig school board president told News 18.

Board members said they are looking forward to returning to just focusing on the education of all of the students in their district.


Posted Sept. 8, 2017:

Altoona is moving forward from a tumultuous start to their football season after the school's athletics director apologized for firing the head football coach. 

On Friday, Altoona Athletics Director and Dean of Students James Oliver apologized for firing Coach Steve English. In a letter, he said:

"I had no authority to fire the football coach, I acted on my own. I am sorry for the upheaval caused by this decision."

Oliver went on to say that, in the best interest of the team, he has decided to remove himself as the football athletics director for the rest of the season. 

News 18 spoke with Altoona Superintendent Connie Biedron over the phone on Friday, who said Oliver will continue serving as the athletics director for all other sports and that the school will reevaluate his involvement with the football team next season. She said Oliver was placed on leave for a week because of the firing, but that Coach English was quickly reinstated because, again, the athletics director acted outside of his authority. 

Parents with students on the Altoona football team told News 18 the team's assistant coach is Oliver's son. Some think the athletics director fired Coach English to clear the way for his son to be head coach, though Superintendent Biedron couldn't confirm that information. 

She said now she's hoping the team can put this situation behind them and focus on a successful remainder of the season. 

Some of the players' parents also told News 18 that their kids were so upset about the initial decision to fire Coach English, many of them returned their jerseys and pads and called it quits on the season. Though with English back in charge, the team appeared to be back to their full roster Thursday night against Eau Claire Regis. 

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