By John Bombatch
FAIRBORN — The refusal to renew the contract of long-time Fairborn varsity football coach Roy Thobe last week has created an online campaign in an effort to win the coach his job back.
An online petition entitled “Fairborn School Board Reinstate Roy Thobe as Fairborn Football Coach” has generated 318 supporters, including a rival football coach, as of 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Fairborn Athletic Director Micah Harding provided an emailed statement on Tuesday stating:
“The Fairborn City School District would like to thank Varsity Football Coach, Roy Thobe, for his fourteen years of service to the high school football program. At this time, the district will not be renewing his supplemental contract for the upcoming school year.
“We appreciate the time and energy that Mr. Thobe gave to our program, but at this time we believe that a change will be positive and productive for the program and student-athletes.”
According to Harding, all supplemental contracts are non-renewed yearly and interested individuals can apply for the various positions. The position for Varsity football coach will be posted on Wednesday, Nov. 25.
When contacted Monday night, Thobe deferred to Harding and principal Gene Lolli for comment regarding the matter.
According to the petition, created by Lyndsey Minnix of Dayton, Thobe was told by the Fairborn school board effective Nov. 20 that “his services were no longer needed as the school wanted to go in another direction.”
Several people added their personal comments to the change.org petition.
“My son would not be playing football today if it wasn’t for Coach Thobe,” said one petitioner. “He personally saved my son (from) making a big mistake during his freshman year when he almost gave up the sport he loved. Four years later, he has been all conference three times and is now looking at a possible Division II scholarship.”
Veteran Xenia High School varsity football coach Bob DeLong also signed the petition to bring Thobe back to Fairborn, adding that his rival wouldn’t have to look very long for another job if he did have to leave.
“Roy is a friend, but he is also someone who I have competed against for 14 years. His teams are always prepared, play hard and are well-coached. His approach to our profession is to put the kid in a position to have success. I respect the heck out of coach, and if Fairborn doesn’t want him, he can always work for us in Xenia. He is exactly the quality coach and educator I want!”
Several of Thobe’s former math students also weighed in.
“I’m signing because I believe in Mr. Thobe. He was my math teacher for three years, and he was the first teacher to show me to apply myself to school work and better my grades. Sure, he was great with sports, but he also was great with teaching,” said one.
Thobe coached the Fairborn varsity football team for 14 years. The veteran coach also coaches Fairborn’s varsity track & field team.
The Greater Western Ohio Conference’s online records for Fairborn only go back as far as 2006, the year the Skyhawks joined the conference. Thobe’s overall record since 2006 was 33-67. He was named the co-GWOC South Division Coach of the Year (with Lebanon’s Shawn Lamb) in 2011 after leading Fairborn to a 6-4 overall, and 3-1 mark in the South Division.
Since 2012, when the GWOC South division expanded to six schools, Fairborn football teams have won 7 games and lost 33. They have a 3-17 overall mark in the GWOC South during that span.
This season, Fairborn finished fifth in the six-team division, ahead of the smallest school in the division, West Carrollton, with a 2-8 overall record, 1-4 in the GWOC South.