GEORGETOWN — Josh Cavanaugh is officially out as the Georgetown-Ridge Farm football coach, with the G-RF school board accepting his resignation on Saturday evening following accusations that Cavanaugh engaged in racist behavior and bullying.
Six of seven board members approved the motion to accept Cavanaugh’s resignation, with seventh member Nancy Heiser Dalenberg not present at the virtual meeting.
Cavanaugh’s roles as Mary Miller Junior High School assistant principal and G-RF girls’ track and field coach were not addressed.
Cavanaugh compiled a 33-34 record in seven seasons coaching the G-RF football team during two stints last decade. The Buffaloes reached the playoffs four times under Cavanaugh.
A Wednesday Facebook post from Dylan Bina, a 2014 G-RF graduate and assistant coach on Cavanaugh’s 2019 football staff, gained significant traction for allegations of misconduct contained within.
Trent Reed, a 2008 G-RF alumnus, a Black man and associate director of development at the University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business, offered comment after the board accepted Cavanaugh’s resignation.
“Over the past few days, I’ve been given first-hand accounts of sexual misconduct, racial slurs and discrimination, verbal and physical abuse, and overall mistreatment while students, parents, coaches and volunteers were in our schools or at school-sponsored practices and events,” Reed said. “Many of these victims and witnesses have been brave enough to report these incidents to the school district, and overwhelmingly these reports have been called unfounded.”
Reed went on to say “parents are being told that there is nothing administration can do to fix the bullying, discrimination and harassment their children face while at school.”
“In my opinion, that’s a tragedy,” Reed said. “And so I will close by asking the board to take some time and reflect on why you took on the volunteer role you currently serve in. I would hope that a part of your answer would be to make your community a better place and to make a better environment that students can learn in.
“If these values have been replaced by your own personal interests or the interests of specific groups or congregations, then it’s time to make room for those who do want the best for our children.”
School board president Mike Gragert responded to Reed’s comment.
“Over the course of the last few days, a number of concerns have been brought forward,” Gragert said, “and I will tell you … that we’re going to make sure we have the opportunity to follow due process and review each of these concerns that have been presented.”