Saturday, May 29, 2004

Middletown coach put on leave over raffles

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MIDDLETOWN - Athletic director and high school football coach Eric Tudor has been placed on indefinite administrative leave over questions about his handling of fund-raising raffles.

Tudor, who joined Middletown Schools as an administrator in 2001, oversaw unsuccessful athletic fund-raising raffles in 2002 and 2003 that offered ticket-buyers a chance to win a new home in 2002 and a new car the following year. .

School officials earlier this week placed the $78,000-a-year athletic director on indefinite paid leave. Superintendent Steve Price said the district would not comment on personnel matters, but said no students were involved or harmed by Tudor's actions.

But Middletown Police Lt. Don Owens said school officials recently asked police to investigate another man who worked as a consultant on the raffles and was paid $6,410. Owens said police have ended their investigation, which focused on the consultant fee. He said nothing illegal was found.

Tudor did not respond Friday to repeated requests to comment. He is in the second year of a two-year contract, which expires June 30. In addition to his $78,000 annual salary, he earns about $16,000 for coaching high school football, supervising off-season training programs and other school activities.

Under Tudor, the Middies football program improved for the first time in years and in 2002, the district's high school track squad won the city's first sports team state championship in 45 years.

Steve Dillman, owner of Middletown's Dillman Food Stores and a longtime backer of Middletown school sports, said he had heard unspecific complaints about Tudor's management of the raffles.

But Dillman hopes Tudor returns, saying: "I hope nothing comes of this, and we stay the positive course we're been on under the last two years of Tudor's leadership."



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