Firing a Coach….
Posted by americandust on April 26, 2007
As many of you know, I am a high school soccer coach. I’m planning a blog dealing specifically with that, but for now I’ll just make some posts here. Well, as a coach I kind of pay a little more attention whenever a coach is fired. I’ve noticed through the years the normal thing to do when you’re fired is to come out and claim you weren’t fired, you’re just wanting to “spend more time with the family” or pursue other options. But what happens when the coach refuses to go quietly into that night?
That might be what’s going on in my home county (I do not coach or teach in the county where I live, which presents some small problems but probably prevents great problems). A local softball and girl’s basketball coach has been let go, but a few families of the girls on the team have organized a pretty impressive media campaign to object. Letters to the editors all featured the same key phrases as did thier impassioned pleas before the school board on the coaches behalf. The number of letters was impressive, but turning to the very public forum of a county paper to express your opinion is an interesting twist. Of course the paper is starving for material, so there’s about three stories they don’t have to track down.
I’m gonna throw my two cents in on the things that disturb me about this story, but I feel obligated to tell you I don’t know ANYTHING other than what I’ve read (which has been from the point of view of the upset students). I don’t even know the coach, but his name sounds familiar so I think I’ve heard of him before, but nothing significant. Nothing personal, but here’s a couple things…
First, we don’t know everything the Superintendent (who has stood by the firing and I assume the firing was directed by the principals as I think that’s their job) or Principals know. The reason personale discissions are private is because there are sometimes some damaging info that the administration knows that would be illegle for them to broadcast. I’m not saying that is what has happened here, but it’s possible (doubtfull because I think his teaching job would be in doubt also).
Second, the issue over how the man coaches seems to be important. Every article and letter seems to indicate that he was a screamer. Even the girls that liked him felt compelled to always say things like “sure he yells at us, but what coach doesn’t”…time and time again. Then you get the buzzword that always indicated a lot to me… “Respect.” In my experience when someone says “he taught me respect” my ears start ringing. Some people out there (mostly coaches and fraternity leaders) seem to think that Respect is something to be taught, not earned. Furthermore, they believe that Respect is taught by teaching you to take a total reaming without flinching. I remember in college the way my fraternity would laugh at the other frats that treated their pledges as scum (one actually called them that at all times). I remember the way the Sig Eps would yell at their pledges, make them embarass themselves, and make the beg to enter the floor of the building they lived on. That was still better than the Sigma Nu’s who stripped their guys to their boxers, piled them up in the back of a pickup and drove them around town. What these people (other frats and some coaches) have in common is they believe you have to rule with an iron fist. Iron fist’s don’t make for respect, they make fear and hatred. That’s no way to coach a young impressionable child.
Next, rumors are circulating that this was a more than professional decision. I certainly hope that some completely unrelated issue doesn’t affect a man’s career. I’ve also heard rumors (reported briefly in the paper) that the firing is a result of just two family’s influence. Unfortunately, we live in a county where it is common that a handful of families hold all the influence (or should I say only a handful have the power and are willing to use it in any way when they’re unhappy). If you doubt this, look at how our Judge Executives’ family and friends seem to get every single appointed position in the county.
Next, since so many girls play both basketball and softball (the schedules don’t overlap that much) I think it’s probably a bad idea to put one coach in charge of both to begin with. I’ll leave it at that.
Finally, did the coach have a winning record in either sport? Is that even possible at the school he coaches at? Did he have something along the lines of success for the school?
Ultimately, I feel bad for the coach and the girls that like him. However, I don’t think the firing of a coach should be a public event. I blame the county paper for providing a public forum for what should be a private occassion.