Coaching search a circus
Add a couple of clowns, a few exotic animals and a big top and you will have exactly what the Escambia County High School head football coach’s search has become: a circus.
In fact, it has turned into a three-ring circus as officials with the Escambia County Board of Education prepare for the third round of interviews for the position. The BOE will be handling the interviewing process in its third go-around after Principal Harvey Means’ three-year contract negotiation failed to receive a motion during last Thursday’s meeting ending his career at ECHS effective May 31.
The drama began Dec. 18, 2009 when then head coach and athletic director Kyle Davis was relieved of his duties. This decision did not sit well with several Blue Devil fans because many did not agree with the timing for his dismissal. In most cases, head coaches are released soon after the season, so they are able to begin seeking future employment. It is unusual for one to be dismissed two hours prior to Christmas break.
Since, more than 50 applications have been weeded through and two separate search committees have held two interview sessions both of which have yielded no results. Five candidates have been considered for the job and one was proposed for hiring last week to no avail.
Now, the board prepares to “start from scratch,” according to Superintendent Billy Hines, throwing out all prior applications and soliciting more applicants. The job was once again put up for advertisement Friday and has to remain open for 14 days ensuring the search will surpass 100 days.
The Advance supports the the board’s decision not to hire a coach recommended by a principal who will not be on campus next year, but for them to allow the process to prolong has led to false hope for a few candidates and a rumor mill to begin throughout town. One key example is that the coach proposed for the job last week was in fact in town under the impression that he already had the job without board approval. It was also learned that two of the Top 3 candidates following the first round of interviews had troubled pasts.
In defense for the board members, they were unaware of many of the actions behind the scenes, but now have the chance to make the right choice for the children of Escambia County High School.
With that said, all involved in the newest search, need to keep the student-athletes in mind when they convene to review candidates after the next interview process. The longer this process drags out, the more the student-athletes will suffer.
Who is to blame?
There is no time to point fingers, only time to get a coach in place and stop all the hoopla that has overtaken the community and the school.
Of the candidates that are rumored to apply for yet another time, only a few stick out amongst the crowd and the Advance hopes that the board will open their eyes and do what is best for the school: hire a coach who is willing to stick with the program and offer stability for the future.