Covington girls basketball coach to stay on administrative leave


COVINGTON — The Covington Exempted Village School District has completed its investigation into communications between student-athletes and Head Girls Basketball Coach Brandon Studebaker.

“To avoid further disruption and to guard against the possible creation of an uncomfortable playing environment for our student athletes, we have elected to maintain Coach Studebaker on his current administrative leave status for the remainder of the 2022-2023 basketball season,” said a letter from District Superintendent Dr. Joseph Hoelzle delivered to girls basketball parents on Wednesday, Dec. 21.

“Coach Naff will finish the season as Interim Head Coach, and he will be supported by our existing staff of assistant coaches,” Hoelzle said in the letter. “I am confident that under these coaches’ leadership, our girls will finish the season strong.”

Studebaker has been out on leave since early November, pending the results of an investigation to determine if he violated the district’s policy regarding texting and social media communications between staff members and students. An investigation by the Miami County Sheriff’s Office cleared Studebaker of criminal charges earlier this year.

Community members, coaches and student-athletes attended a meeting of the district’s Board of Education on Thursday, Dec. 15, to show their support for Studebaker. The district completed its internal investigation into Studebaker’s conduct following that meeting, Hoelzle said in the letter.

“After reviewing the evidence, I have found that Coach Studebaker did not follow clear, written directives given by our athletic director to both him and other high school coaches to only use the Remind app or email to communicate with our student athletes,” Hoelzle said. “Correspondence via the Remind app or email allows the school district to monitor communications in order to protect both the student and the coach.”

“I have also concluded that some of Coach Studebaker’s text messaging with one or more of our student-athletes was not confined to matters directly related to the operations of the varsity girls basketball team- which is a violation of board policy,” Hoelzle said. “These included text messages pertaining to Coach Studebaker’s private life and personal matters that had no relation to the activities of the basketball team.”

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