County must take better care of coaches

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 14, 2006

There will be at least four new Shelby County head football coaches on the sidelines next season.

Since the 2005 football season ended, Shelby County&8217;s Bruce Breland, Chelsea&8217;s Watt Parker, Spain Park&8217;s Vince DiLorenzo and Calera&8217;s Lanny Jones have stepped down from their positions.

Their reasons for leaving have ranged from job offers at other schools to needing more time with their families.

Every coach deserves the utmost respect, whatever their decision. But Shelby County football fans might want to take a closer look at what is expected of the men who lead local athletes on the field and teach them a number of life&8217;s many lessons.

The excitement for high school football in Alabama finds its roots in the passion found both on and off the playing field.

Fans are oftentimes as crazy for their high school football as the players taking the field. Starting player choices, play calling and game strategy are scrutinized under a powerful microscope every Friday night.

While it&8217;s obvious that this intense focus on success does not entirely influence these coaches&8217; leaving their programs, it isn&8217;t too far of a stretch to assume they played a part in the decision.

When a coach leaves for the same position at another school, what made the difference for him?

When a coach has to resign so he can have more time with his kids, shouldn&8217;t there be a re-examination of the expectations?

The four Shelby County coaches stepping down this off-season combined for a record of 27-17 last year, with three of the four teams making trips to the AHSAA playoffs.

While most schools cannot raise the salary they pay their coaches or simplify their jobs so much that all they have to do is put on the headset, there&8217;s plenty that county football fans can do to try and keep these men on our teams&8217; sidelines.

Instead of questioning their play calling, let&8217;s thank them for teaching young athletes how to win and lose. Instead of shouting from the home bleachers when your player doesn&8217;t get in the game, let&8217;s trust them just a little.

Coaches do make bad decisions, and sometimes they don&8217;t fit with the program they&8217;re leading. But Shelby County is lucky to have some of the greatest men in the state of Alabama walking its sidelines every Friday night.

We&8217;ve said goodbye to four of those men during the past month and will welcome three coaches to join new Chelsea head coach Wade Waldrop on the sidelines this year.

Better opportunities do come along. But that doesn&8217;t meet local football fans shouldn&8217;t do their part to make sure the best opportunity is right here in Shelby County