A girls wrestling coach who was denied an anti-harassment order against a Kiona-Benton City School Board member following a confrontation last winter has resigned from coaching in the district.
The board accepted Holly Graham’s letter of resignation during its Monday meeting.
Graham, who was formerly an assistant coach at Kiona-Benton City High School, said her decision stemmed from what happened at the end of last season.
“They reassigned me to the middle school,” she said, a position she wasn’t willing to take.
Board President Tim Cook’s daughter, Britnee, was a member of the girls wrestling team, and there reportedly was tension between her, her father and Graham during the season. Graham said in court documents that Cook became confrontational with her during a meet in February, prompting other school administrators to intervene.
A Benton County District Court judge dismissed Graham’s request, saying Cook limited his contact with the coach to her workplace and wasn’t harassing her at home.
“He doesn’t like the way you coach and therefore he is expressing himself,” the judge said. “He is expressing himself in a very poor way, his choices on this were poor.”
The board had decided to move Graham to the middle school team in May, a decision some in the district said was a punishment. Dozens of students protested over Graham’s reassignment and other staffing changes for a few days not long after that meeting.
Graham’s contact with the district has been limited since wrestling season ended last spring, she said. She did notify the district that she intended to return to coaching, but when she received her contract and it listed her as having a position at the middle school, she decided to step down.
Graham is in discussions with another Mid-Columbia school district about a coaching position.