will lead the Cleveland Heights High boys' varsity basketball team starting this fall.
At Tuesday's Cleveland Heights-University Heights Special School Board meeting at , members approved the former Euclid coach's supplemental contract as head coach of the boys' basketball team.
Members had approved his teaching contract at the regular board meeting July 5, and he will teach in the Opportunity Lab, which helps students who are behind in earning credits at CHHS.
He will receive $7,128 to coach the Tigers and $63,800 to teach.
Heights Athletic Director Kristin Hughes spoke about the process of hiring Suttell.
The school received 73 applications, she said. A committee comprised of Hughes, four coaches, two principals (Nicholas Petty and James Reed) and two parents interviewed nine of those candidates. Three were brought back for second interviews (the fourth found another job and declined the second round.) Players on all of the boys' basketball teams at Heights also were invited to meet with the finalists.
Barry Egan, the former Heights basketball coach , reapplied and was bought in for an interview, said Angee Shaker, communications director, by email. The district did not explain why his contract was not renewed, and some parents of players and community members .
Hughes said that candidates had to have previous experience as a head coach and recruiting knowledge so that players can continue with the sport beyond high school, but there was something else that was important when choosing a candidate.
"The No. 1 thing we were looking for was to bring in a coach who would be developing men first, basketball players second … and I think we’re getting that with Coach Suttell," she said.
Hughes said in a press release that the district will be fortunate to have Suttell, who has also been a head coach at Cuyahoga Heights High School and Hawken School.
At the July 5 board meeting, Carl Campbell Jr., a Heights grad, former member of the Heights basketball team and a "Cleveland Heights lifer," as he put it, said he was concerned about the school's decision.
"The process was not clear, it was tainted, and influenced by outside forces," he said, adding that he submitted a letter to the board. "…The administration crafted a hire from outside again."
And he said that the school needs more diversity in its coaching staff.
"Young people need someone … staff, community leaders, that they can relate to, confide in and have shared experiences," he said. "Youth need to see leaders that look like them to inspire them to reach their fullest potential and to believe to that they can lead."
Board member Karen Jones also said she hoped that diversity was considered in the selection process at Tuesday's meeting. But she emphasized that she had confidence in Hughes' leadership and ability to select a solid coaching staff.
"I spoke to a lot of the players and families, and they seem to agree with who you all selected … but I do agree with a lot of the committee members concerns in the number of minority coaches that we have in the high school. So I hope that we will look at that in the future," she said. "I'm not saying you pick because of color, but there does need to be more diversity in our coaching staff."
Suttell's contract is effective Aug. 29.