SOLON– Allegations of verbal abuse by the Solon High School varsity volleyball coach were deemed unfounded after an investigation into a complaint by a former player.
At the July 9 school board meeting, Lori McKinnie said her daughter received undue and inappropriate comments from Coach Kurt Trout during her two seasons playing for Solon in ninth and 10th grade.
The student, now graduated, chose not to go out for volleyball her last two years at Solon High.
The family filed a written formal complaint to superintendent Sam Miller and the school board.
Miller said the complaint and investigation were confidential and, at the advice of district counsel, offered this statement: “We fully investigate all complaints of alleged employee misconduct and take disciplinary action when and if warranted. The district continues to have full faith and support in Coach Trout.”
The incidents were investigated and last week, Trout was cleared of any wrongdoing after no physical or sexual abuse was found.
McKinnie said she believed in the process the district went through in investigating the coach’s behavior, but was looking for two things when she and her family discussed the issue.
First, that Coach Trout’s office would be relocated out of the girls’ locker room, and second, that Trout would be forced to take a sexual harassment class.
She also said she was disappointed that more players did not step forward to corroborate her daughter’s allegations.
One factor that may have affected the investigation was time.
McKinnie said she and her daughter had first gone to Miller’s office 21 months ago, but said they were not given the proper paperwork to file an official complaint.
The form is found in section 104 of the school district policy; titled the “Anti-Bullying/Harassment Complaint Form.”
The student, Alison McKinnie, said Trout made repeated inappropriate comments to her, the team and coaches.
She said, “(Solon volleyball players knew they had to) play his game to get playing time (or ride the bench).” She also said that many of Trout’s comments had sexual overtones.
She said she came forward to officially submit the complaint form because she didn’t want other players to experience what she went through.
But after the investigation found insufficient evidence of improper behavior, no action will be taken by the school administration.
Trout was informed of the results of the investigation on Monday, July 23, and would only state that he was “looking forward to coaching this fall.”
He’s a former coach with the Iowa Rockets, a volleyball club for girls aged 12-18.
That club’s co-director, Kyla Rodgers, coaches the Rockets teams with her husband, Dave Rodgers. Rodgers remembered Trout and said she liked him, called him a nice guy, but wasn’t surprised by the complaint.
She said, “All coaches have their own coaching style. Nearly all coaches could use a little bit of buttoning up sometimes.”
A few years ago, Trout left a coaching position at Regina High School in Iowa City and is currently on the staff of the Iowa High Performance Volleyball Camp. He lives in Coralville.
The Solon varsity volleyball season starts Aug. 22 with a game against Clear Creek Amana.
Alison McKinnie was the captain for the Lady Spartans soccer team, and her squad was crowned the 2012 WaMaC conference champions. She was named to the WaMaC all-conference first team and the Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association (IHSSCA) all-state Class 1A second team. McKinnie was among state leaders in goals scored.