Opinion: Not a selfish move, just the way of the business

Published 12:32 pm Thursday, July 27, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

When news broke on Tuesday, July 25 that Calera High School head football coach Jason Hamlin was stepping down from his position to join the Hoover High School coaching staff, many fans flooded to social media to voice their opinions with less than two weeks until fall practice starts.

Many were angry that someone would leave the team with a month until the season starts and practice on the near horizon, saying it was difficult to justify the decision at this point.

And, yes, it does impact the kids, which is what high school sports are about, but you also have to put yourself in the shoes of the coach.

As someone who has great admiration for Hamlin, this is a decision that he didn’t take lightly.

The first time I met Hamlin was for a story on a player at Spain Park High School when Hamlin was there leading their defensive line.

That player, Cedric Tooson, lost both of his parents within a year of each other between 2014 and 2015. A year and two weeks after losing his mom to cancer, his dad passed away in a tragic car accident.

Tooson went on to persevere through the pain and became a star at defensive end for the Jaguars the next few years.

Hamlin was a big reason for that success.

The two formed a great relationship with Hamlin always there for Tooson at the first text or phone call.

In a 2017 interview, Tooson said he considered Hamlin to be like a father figure for him because of the care and support he showed in all facets of life beyond just the game of football.

That is the kind of person Hamlin is, and that character has held true since as he made his way to McAdory as an assistant and then to Calera as a head coach.

So, yes, it is easy to be disappointed when a coach leaves this close to the season because it does impact the kids and the outlook they’ll have for the season, especially the senior class.

But, at the same time, you can’t say it’s because he is selfish or doesn’t care.

Hamlin got an opportunity to join one of the top programs in the state, and he deservedly took it.

We all have dreams that we want to fulfill, and in life, especially when making business decisions, it always hurts someone.

You can’t fault someone for making a decision that will better life for their family and help them continue to chase down their dreams, because, ultimately, that’s what we are all hoping for in life.

This is a decision that has likely eaten Hamlin alive the last few days, and in knowing him, he has gone above and beyond to have a plan in place for Calera through this transition.

Think about it this way. Had he had another 4-7 season this year, people might start clamoring for his job. You can’t fault him for making a decision that is best for himself and his family in this situation.

The bigger focus should be on what can be done to attract a good coach, whether this year or after the season ends, to not only come to Calera but stay in Calera. That answer could come from more buy in from the city with funding.

Right now, the assistant coaches at Calera will be ready to step up, one likely earning an interim head coaching role, and parents and players will rally around one another to make sure they stick to the work they have been putting in to still making this season special.