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Basketball coach to be cited for two driving offenses

Published August 25. 2010 05:00PM

The slope continues to get more slippery for a Northern Lehigh High School basketball coach already on thin ice for the unsafe transportation of a player.

Boys basketball coach Richard Oertner will be cited with two driving offenses for allegedly transporting one of his players on the roof of his vehicle last month. It remains uncertain which player was involved.

Contacted this morning, Slatington Borough Police Chief Dave Rachman told The TIMES NEWS Oertner will be cited for careless driving and unauthorized persons and devices hanging on vehicles.

Oertner was traveling along Shadow Oaks Lane on July 28 when Superintendent Michael Michaels and several school board members observed the unidentified player on top of his coach's vehicle, Rachman said.

Rachman said the police department received the complaint, filed by the school district, on Aug. 3.

Efforts to reach both Oertner and Michaels in time for today's publication were unsuccessful.

Last month, the school board unanimously agreed to table a motion to rescind the appointment of Oertner from his position as head boys basketball coach for the 2010-11 school year. Oertner was originally reappointed to the position April 12.

Board President Edward Hartman said the board tabled the motion "due to an ongoing investigation" of Oertner's unsafe transportation of a player. Michaels was not in attendance due to the death of a family member earlier that day.

At that time, Oertner, with players, members of his coaching staff, and family by his side, issued an apology to the board.

Oertner said he declined to accept the board's offer to resign, but told the board he would be willing to donate his salary next season back to the school or be placed on probation.

Senior player Michael Hoffman Jr., as well as resident Art George Jr., both were prepared to speak on Oertner's behalf, but decided to hold off since the matter was tabled.

Hartman said at that time the board could vote on Oertner's status at the board's Sept. 13 meeting. He declined further comment at that time.

This past season, Oertner guided the team to a 19-6 record and Colonial League title, the team's third in four seasons.

For his career, Oertner has a 162-98 record, and his team won the 2007-08 District 11 2A Championship.

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