ANNVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) — Annville-Cleona head girls softball coach Dave Bentz reportedly was asked to resign after students used his school keys to pull a senior prank.
“A senior player of mine and another couple seniors came up and asked to borrow my keys so they could play a prank on my assistant coach,” Bentz said of the incident, which happened about a week ago. “Basically, they went into both of our equipment storage areas and got tennis balls to put in her room. Very harmless, not a problem. I said, ‘get my keys back the next day’.”
Bentz says it’s common for coaches to lend their keys to players they trust to gather equipment, and that a senior prank from his team is “something that has been going on for years.” The girls softball team keeps equipment in a shed at their field and in a locker inside the high school.
What Bentz didn’t know is that his players would share the keys with other seniors, not from his team, for a separate prank in the high school.
“And they went in the morning hours – when they shouldn’t have been – on my keys,” Bentz said. “My key was used, and I’m pretty much having the finger pointed at me and the blame. There was no damage done inside the school. They blew up balloons to spread out through the hallways and streamers saying 2016 Seniors, I believe it was. In the morning, I was contacted by my athletic director who basically said I was terminated.”
Bentz says the punishment was handed down hastily by former acting superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Miller “without even contacting me.” Miller has since been replaced by new a new superintendent, Dr. Cheyl Potteiger. Bentz says Potteiger has made no indication she will overturn Miller’s decision to seek the softball coach’s dismissal.
ABC27 News left phone messages and emails for Potteiger, Miller, and athletic director Thomas Long on Tuesday seeking comment on Bentz’s status. None of the administrators had responded by the publishing of this article.
“The decision has been made. I’m hoping it would be overturned and rectified,” added Bentz, who says he is unaware of any students receiving punishment for their role in the pranks. “If there’s some alternative punishment I could do, that’s not a problem. I’m not saying I’m not guilty. I gave my keys up and yes, something could have happened very bad. Thankfully, it didn’t. It was harmless. I just want to coach.”
Bentz hopes to present his case to the Annville-Cleona School Board at a meeting next month. A group of supporters has set up a Facebook page called “Rally for Coach Bentz.”