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Controversial, Religious Coach Could be Hired at Lakewood

HEBRON (Lu Ann Stoia/Kate Liebers) -- Dave Daubenmire is known for his conservative rants online and, years ago, was sued for allegedly forcing his players to pray. He is now a top candidate for a position in central Ohio.

Daubenmire led the London High School football team to five state play-offs, but stepped down in January 2000 amid a legal battle. The American Civil Liberties Union had filed a lawsuit after he allegedly led his players in prayer.

He more recently coached at Fairfield Christian in Lancaster, but left in 2012. Some said he was ousted. Daubenmire said he left coaching a high school team to coach God's team. 
 
He is now a finalist for coaching the Lakewood Lancers.

Some staff and community members have said they are concerned about hiring such an outspoken coach. Others consider Daubenmire's religious background an advantage. 

"Anybody that can help us improve the football season is definitely a plus," said Michael Davidson, whose daughter is a cheerleader. "And I want to see prayer in our schools return."

Daubenmire confirmed he has interviewed for the coaching job but did not want to talk about it until after the decision is made.

The district's athletic director, Bo Hanson, said a committee would recommend a candidate to the school board. Hanson is part of the committee, as well as the high school principal and assistant principal, a teacher and the Athletic Booster president.

The board is expected to cast the final vote during the Feb. 12 meeting.
 
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