Athletic programs becoming extinct

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 28, 2006

Through the years the coaching carousel has always been turning.

Young coaches always look to improve and move up the coaching ladder, while the older coaches fade away into retirement.

Years ago in the college and professional ranks the carousel moved so slow that you thought time was standing still.

That's not so anymore.

Today, that carousel is spinning so fast that it's thrown the horses off and all that is left is a spinning cylinder.

That carousel also has found its way to the high school ranks. Maybe I'm just too young to realize that football coaches changed jobs as much as they do their underwear back then.

But it seems like it's more common that coaches move on than stay. In some instances that is neither good for the coach or the school.

The times have changed. The longtime coach is quickly becoming an extinct breed. Sure there are a few, but they are rare.

Brantley basketball coach Tony Stallworth came to Brantley almost 20 years ago and built a dynasty with three straight state titles in the 1990s. He became a hot commodity around the state as the next great coach to rise through the ranks.

He had numerous opportunities to move on to bigger schools with more opportunities to win more state championships, but he didn't take them.

And he admitted that he's glad that he didn't move on because he feels like he's benefited more by staying at Brantley.

Stallworth stepped down as head boys basketball coach last week to concentrate on his new duties as principal at Brantley. While the kids will miss him and he them, a program has been established at Brantley that will never crumble. The foundation has been laid, now the new bricks only need to be added.

Greenville introduced its third head football coach in less than one year Tuesday night, and the questions have already been asked, &#8220how long do you think this one will stay?”

It's a valid question. And of course you are gonna get the typical answer that he'll stay as long as the community wants him.

People wonder why there are no more football programs anymore.

A program is built mostly through the longevity of a football coach. That coach cannot build a program in a couple of years. A program is like that huge field that you expect to get a bumper crop. You know that you have to spend time with that field by giving it the nutrients it needs to produce a great crop.

A football program is the same. That coach has to work to gain trust with his players and coaches before planting that seed.

Then if the players and coaches believe in that head coach, winning will be the end result.

But we don't live in a world like that anymore. We are in a world where results are required instantly.

That's why football programs and legendary football coaches are becoming extinct.

Kevin Taylor is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. Call him at (334) 382-3111 ext. 122 or e-mail kevin.taylor@greenvilleadvocate.com.