COAL TOWNSHIP - Following last week's "spirited, heated debate" over who will be Shamokin Area's next football coach, a second round of interviews with the top candidates will be done.

Responding to recent controversy surrounding what has been a contentious selection process, Shamokin Area school director Bob Getchey offered his thoughts on the direction the process should take.

"We shouldn't rush this thing," Getchey said. "It is our job to make sure that we have the right person in that job, for the program and the kids."

Getchey said he would like to see who he considers to be the three finalists for the job be interviewed before the entire nine-member board.

That list includes Indians' defensive coordinator Mike Gurski, Halifax head coach Yaacov Yisrael and former North Schuylkill head coach Rick Geist.

The move comes one week removed from a closed-door discussion among seven members of the Shamokin Area School Board following a meeting of the athletics and buildings and grounds committees, when members Charles Shuey and Getchey reportedly had to be separated.

Both men called it a "spirited, heated debate," leaving it at that, but Shuey said he felt that it appeared that the decision was already made.

"There is a difference of opinion right now about who should be the head football coach, but I feel that some board members made their decision long before the initial interviews were scheduled," Shuey said last week.

Getchey, who could not initially be reached for comment in the days following last week's meeting, disagreed with that assessment.

"That is what I took exception to," Getchey said Thursday. "I don't know what more I can do to make the process any more complete. If we had the decision already made, why did I sit through eight hours of interviews?"

Shuey, the head of the board's personnel committee, said interviews could help to sway any decision.

"In my own case, I listened and had my mind made up. When Yisrael came in, he was so well-prepared and did such a good job, I changed my position. That's what we need, for the whole board to listen," Shuey said.

Board president Brian Persing had no problem with a second round of interviews, but thinks it should be between the two candidates he feels the board is deadlocked between - Gurski and Yisrael.

"I don't know if an interview with him would do any good at all," Persing said Friday. "When we polled the board members in attendance last week, no one had any concern for Geist."

With the new interviews planned, Shuey said Friday he was pleased to hear they were coming.

"I welcome that," he said. "There are some board members that haven't even spoken to the candidates at all. Everyone can now make an informed decision."

Both Persing and Getchey said this week that the board will take a break from the discussion, focusing on what he called more pressing matters.

"We are going to take this month to discuss the safety of the school, in light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut," Persing said. "We are going to work on that this month, and let this cool down and pick it up in February."