KEYSER - Frankfort High School teacher and head football coach Kevin Whiteman will return to his duties as of July 1, 2018.

By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Frankfort High School teacher and head football coach Kevin Whiteman will return to his duties as of July 1, 2018.
The Mineral County Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday night, following a 2 1/2-hour hearing held behind closed doors, to continue Whiteman’s suspension until the end of the current school year, and then to allow him to resume his duties on July 1.
Whiteman, accused of inappropriate conduct with two female students in 2015 and 2016, has been on suspension with pay since Feb. 3, 2016 - resulting in the Frankfort Falcon football team having two interim head coaches for the past two seasons.
Although evidence in his case was presented to a Mineral County Grand Jury in May 2016, the jury found insufficient evidence to indict him.
In 2017, Whiteman’s case went before the West Virginia Commission for Professional Teaching Standards Professional Practice Panel, and as a result of their recommendation, state superintendent of schools Steven L. Paine revoked Whiteman’s teaching license for 16 months.
This past February, however, a special Circuit Court Judge in Mineral County overtuned the superintendent’s ruling, saying Paine had not issued his order within the time limit allowed by law.
That ruling placed the ball back in the county school board’s court, and they conducted Thursday’s employee hearing with Whiteman and his attorney, Dan James, and the board’s attorney, Kim Coyle of the firm Bowles Rice, in attendance.
The small board room was packed with 20-30 of Whiteman’s supporters - many of them wearing their Frankfort blue.
James told the board his client preferred to hold the hearing in closed session, and the packed room was cleared, with the coach’s many friends and supporters stopping to say a word to him or pat him on the shoulder as they walked out.
Despite the length of the hearing, not one of his supporters left before the verdict was in.
During the hearing, Whiteman and James were allowed to plea his case, and they then left the board room, along with superintendent Shawn Dilly and Coyle, so the five board members could deliberate by themselves.
Once the board went back into open session, and everyone filed back into the room, board president Rob Woy asked for the superintendent’s recommendation.
“It is my recommendation, based upon our investigation and our review of proceedings before the West Virginia licensure panel … that Mr. Whiteman be suspended without pay until the end of the 2017-2018 school year, to resume his duties on July 1, 2018.”
The 5-0 vote was met by cheers, applause, and even some tears from the audience - many of whom stayed to congratulate the smiling coach.