Coaching carousel turning a little late

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2005

One head coach down and one more to go.

About three months ago, no one would have thought there would have been so much turnover within the coaching ranks in Butler County.

When I took the job here I knew of all of the football coaches in this area except for McKenzie coach David Kirkland.

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When I was still in sports in Montgomery I knew of Alvin Briggs, Keith York and Speed Sampley. And I knew they had been at their respective jobs for some time.

Then the coaching carousel began to turn when Georgiana principal Roland Pettie unexpectedly passed away.

Everyone knew that York was being groomed by Pettie to eventually take over as principal, but not this soon.

So one of the first orders of business for York as the school's new principal was to look for a replacement for himself.

I never would have dreamed that I'd be writing about York getting his replacement hired this late in the summer.

Then came the call on Monday of the rumor that Briggs had resigned. I just wanted to laugh it off, but something told me to check it out.

I began to get more anxious when I couldn't reach Briggs' on his cell phone.

Then the rumor became fact when Greenville High Principal Dr. Kathy Murphy said it was so.

I would be lying if I said that I was shocked.

The talk about town was that if Briggs' football team didn't improve on its 2-8 record of a year ago that he would be asked to resign.

Briggs beat that notion to the punch.

Having covered sports in other states across the southeast, I've seen worse. Working in south Georgia, where high school football is revered as a religion, I've seen a coach fired after a disappointing 8-3 season.

That's right 8-3.

Most coaches could only hope for such a so-called disappointment. But a first-round loss doesn't cut it when you are the winningest high school football program in the country, Valdosta.

So now the search begins for another head football coach in Butler County.

The question now is who will get the job at Greenville?

And that may be a question that may go unanswered until the end of this season.

Butler County Superintendent Mike Looney said that it's likely that an interim coach will be hired, which seems to be the best solution this late into the summer.

The possibility of Greenville being able to find a quality football coach with a couple weeks before practice starts is slim.

Whether an interim coach or a permanent coach is named, it's going to be an uphill battle for the Tigers this season. But this battle doesn't need to be just for the players and coaches of the football team.

If ever a football team needs the support of the community, this would be it.

Kevin Taylor is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. Contact him by e-mailing or call (334) 383-9302 ext. 122.