Norwalk football coach placed on leave

·3 min read

Sep. 23—NORWALK — Norwalk High School football coach Todd Fox has been placed on administrative leave after several allegations of inappropriate behavior among players on his team.

The players were told as they arrived at school Friday morning.

Superintendent Brad Cooley released the following statement:

"The Norwalk High School head varsity football coach, who is also a district school counselor, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation. This is in regards to allegations that he failed to report inappropriate behavior between members of the football team that occurred on the football field in June 2022. Jason Ziegler will serve as the interim head coach; tonight's game and activities will proceed as scheduled."

Fox, a Willard graduate who is also the head wrestling coach at NHS, was hired prior to the 2018 football season at Norwalk. He previously spent eight years as the head coach at Tiffin Calvert, going 57-36 games with seven straight playoff appearances.

The Truckers won 10 games and reached the Division III state semifinals in 2018, and were 24-11 with league and regional championships from 2018-20.

The Truckers (0-5) have lost 14 of their last 15 games entering Friday night's game vs. state-ranked Bellevue (4-1).

Ziegler previously served as the head coach at Perkins from 2010-19, and was also the head coach at St. Mary Central Catholic in Sandusky for two seasons prior to that.

Cooley did not comment further.

The June 2022 incident Cooley refers to appears to involve a reported sleepover at Contractors Stadium, which was mentioned by school board member Alison Crawford during this past week's Norwalk school board meeting. School board members did not discuss that incident further during the meeting, and have not elaborated on what allegedly happened during the June incident since the meeting.

Another reported hazing incident involving football players at the school also recently came to light.

In early August, in the varsity football locker room, two students restrained a player while another rubbed a sex toy on his mouth and poked his buttocks with it, according to a Norwalk police report. One student involved in the incident was suspended and the Huron County prosecutor's office is reviewing the incident.

Crawford said it is time for everybody to step back and take a deep breath while the process works itself out.

"I do believe they (the administration) are on top of it," she said. "I honestly think they heard everything everybody had to say ... 100 percent trust they are working very hard right now to figure on what is going on.

"There is better communication, not only as a board member but as a parent. Communication is getting much better."

Crawford said she hopes something good can come out of this.

"If this is what it took for all of us in the community and the admin to come together then, hey, we are doing something right," she said. "It may get harder before it gets easier but I have a lot of respect for out admin team ... we are moving in the right direction."

Crawford said it is important for everybody to let the administration do its job.

"I was saddened to see the petition (on Facebook) to fire a bunch of our administrative team," she said. "I feel like that was not what we needed right now as a community. We should not attack anyone right now like that. We want to let everybody do their job. I want to make sure they understand the board is and was supporting the community and the admin. Dual support."