Less than one week after a three-hour executive session to discuss hiring the next varsity boys basketball coach, the Greenfield Exempted Village Schools Board of Education voted unanimously Saturday morning to rehire current coach Joe B. Stewart.

A special meeting was held Saturday, May 1 at 8 a.m., where the agenda included a recommendation to approve a supplemental contract for Stewart for the 2021-22 school year. The recommendation passed 5-0, according to Debbi Stewart.

The original April 26 agenda included a recommendation to hire Ryan Olaker as boys varsity basketball coach.

During that meeting Monday — after the aforementioned executive session, held from 7:12 p.m. to 10:20 p.m. — the board voted 4-1 to pull the recommendation to hire Olaker from the agenda and 4-1 to table the decision. Board member Sandy Free voted no on both motions.

Stewart has been the varsity head coach at McClain since the 2018-19 season, and overall he’s coached 32 seasons in high school varsity basketball. Olaker was the JV boys head coach this past season.

The season before Stewart took over as head coach for McClain, they had three wins and 20 losses. In the three seasons that Stewart has coached the varsity Tigers the program has built a record of 37-30 with two winning seasons of 13-7 in 2020-21 and 15-8 in 2018-19. Before those two winning seasons, the previous winning season for McClain boys varsity basketball came in 2010-11.

In addition to the aforementioned induction into the Ohio High School District 14 Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2014 — Stewart is also a three-time winner of the Associated Press Southeast District Coach of the Year award, an eight-time District 14 Coach of the Year winner and was awarded the Ohio Division II Coach of the Year award (1989). He earned his 350th career coaching victory during this past basketball season, on Dec. 22, 2020.

Stewart submitted the following statement to The Highland County Press:

“I am reminded of the thrill of playing in the opening game in the McClain New Gym Nov. 26, 1974. Many forget that the year before we played each and every game on the road during that year of gym construction. It toughened our team.

“My recall of that night is what I have experienced this week. It is always great to compete with a McClain crowd behind you, but this week I’ve been blessed to experience not just a crowd behind me, but a McClain crowd that truly has my back.

“My father told us that, when Buckskin became a part of Greenfield Exempted Village Schools in 1965, I would receive opportunities that I would never have otherwise. A McClain education has been a difference maker in my life.

“I thank the GEVS Board of Education and school administration for granting me the honor of unanimous affirmation to continue pursuing excellence, building good people who do things right making success just a matter of time, not just in this moment, but for years to come.

“There are too many people to thank, and mentioning a few is not to minimize the contributions of so many. But all the same, the past 11 days could not have been successfully navigated without the balance provided by the love of my life, Debbi Hollar Stewart; the care of lifelong friends Susie Mains and Dave Payton; my coach, Sam Snyder; District 14 POY Devin Carter; the Lord of my life, Christ Jesus; the love and support of countless former players; my two sons, Brian and Tyler; stepdaughter, Vanessa; my current Tigers; parents, fans and supporters; my past teammates in two sports; friends; friends of my brother and sisters; brothers and sisters in Athletes In Action; Facebook friends; those who saw a need for a strategic conversation; and most critically, those who perceived a need to pray for me and mine.

“The test that we endured has indeed become a testimony and an affirmation that my life verse, John 15:5, has provided just enough light for each step of the way.”

For more, see https://highlandcountypress.com/Content/In-The-News/In-The-News/Article/GEVS-Board-of-Education-tables-boys-varsity-basketball-coach-decision-hears-Joe-B-Stewart-in-executive-session-/2/20/68269.