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Tom Miller: Weighing in on Klawitter saga

By Tom Miller
July 11, 2015

Sometimes, silence is deafening.

The Janesville School District announced Friday that Jennah (Burkholder) Hartwig had been hired to replace Tom Klawitter as the Parker High girls basketball coach.

Most people weren't aware that Klawitter, who had coached teams to three state titles and 12 state tournament appearances, had submitted retirement papers as a physical education instructor at the end of the school year. He taught in the district for 29 years.

Trying to get more of this story was difficult.

The timing of the press release was the first indication. Issuing press releases on Fridays allows people to disappear into the weekend as soon as they hit the “send” button.

Parker athletic director Joe Dye did return a phone call. Dye said he could not discuss anything about the hiring process. He referred any questions about the hiring process to Steve Sperry.

Sperry is the acting school superintendent, while Karen Schulte is in China.

Sperry's assistant said he was out of the office, but that she would give him the number to call. A return call never arrived.

Klawitter is in Chicago. He wouldn't get into specifics, saying he did want take anything away from Hartwig's day. Hartwig led the Vikings to four state tournament appearances while playing for him.

Klawitter promised to discuss the situation in detail in the next few weeks.

What is known is that situation had been brewing for months. Klawitter had to wait 75 days from June 11 before he could re-apply for the coaching position, as state regulations require. The same situation applied to Bob Suter when he retired as a physical education instructor at Janesville Craig High in 2001.

Suter re-applied for the boys basketball coaching position and got it.

Klawitter didn't get that opportunity, even though he has 564 career victories, which ranks him fifth in the all-time win record among state girls basketball coaches.

Why? That is something that might be answered at a later date.

On Friday, the silence was deafening.

Back, back, back

The baseball All-Star break begins Monday.

That brings us to the annual Home Run Derby, which rivals the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest for most over hyped event of all-star weekends.

How many Chris Berman's “back…back…back” can one stand?

MLB changed the format of Monday night's Derby. The 10-out format is out, and participants will go head-to-head. Participants will have five minutes to hit as many homers as they can, and they will get more time for long, long homers.

Going against the clock will make the pitchers critical. Amateur pitchers, such as fathers, might cost the players. Mark Bryant of the Cubs still plans to have his father pitch to him.

Reds third baseman Todd Frazier has been installed as the 7/2 favorite by Bovada sportsbook. The rest of the field and their odds are:  Bryant, 5/1; Prince Fielder, 11/2; Albert Pujols, 6/1; Anthony Rizzo, 13/2; Josh Donaldson, 7/1; Joc Pederson, 7/1, and Manny Machado, 7/1.

I'll put my monopoly money on Donaldson.

Other ramblings…

n I don't care if Francisco Rodriguez is an all-star reliever, and he is a perfect 19-of-19 in save situations. I still can't watch when he enters the game.

n Pro golfer Luke Donald said he didn't mind taking 45 minutes to play a 357-yard hole 18th hole at St. Andrews when he played with Jack Nicklaus on the Golden Bear's final round at the famed course. Spectators delayed the group's trip up the final fairway as they honored Nicklaus.

Forty-five minutes is about how long it takes me to play a 357-yard hole with no one around.

n Here's wishing the rain stays away from State Fair Park Sunday afternoon to allow the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 IndyCar race to take place. It is quite an event, and even casual fans should consider making the trip to West Allis. You will be entertained.

Just bring earplugs.

Tom Miller is a page designer/sports writer for The Gazette.