Feb. 5, 2020

Principal Craig Stone

I had received some phone calls and text messages from concerned parents and students over the “Coach Coleman” situation at the high school. Apparently, the school is looking for (another) head coach which was expressed to me to be an unnecessary thing so, I called the principal, Craig Stone and set up a meeting.

What was supposed to be a 15-30 minute interview turned into over two hours. He’s very approachable and personable and you cannot help but be drawn to his warm character. We spent that time talking about the football coaches, how this was going to play out, and how it would affect the players who currently play under Coach Coleman. The rest of the time, we just visited. As I said: approachable and personable.

“Tell me about the coach position?” I started. “Why are you looking for a new coach if everyone is happy with the current one?”

“Well, let me explain how this came about…” Principal Stone began explaining the situation: “Principal Evans, who was here before me, needed a coach and it was agreed when Coleman took the position that it was temporary. The position would be open and of course, he could apply for the permanent position at the end of the season.

“It was an agreement made between he and Evans and I just honored it. Since I inherited the position and was not from Georgetown, I helped to form a committee made up of people in the community: coaches, business owners, and parents who can go through the applications and choose a coach for the upcoming year. Coach Coleman is just one of over 40 applicants and 13 left to interview before any kind of decision is made.”

“So, he agreed to go through this process when he accepted the position?”

Principal Stone nodded. “Yes, he did. He knew from the beginning and agreed that he would have to apply just like everyone else.”

“So in the end, you’ll decide which applicant to hire and it could very well be anyone?”

“No, not right away,” he answered. “It’s up to the committee to choose three people and then Dr. Dozier, the superintendent of the schools, will choose from that list.”

Glancing down at my notes, I asked, “What kind of things are you looking for here in a coach?”

He thought for a minute and then answered, “I think all of us on the committee are basically looking for the same thing. We want someone with consistency, longetivity… the players need someone who is going to be here for them. Do you know, they have had a different coach every year for the last five years? One coach stayed eleven days and then went back to his old school to coach. These players need continuity and I think that is something we all want for them: the committee, the parents, and the players all want someone who cares.”

“Okay, I get it,” I replied. “I understand what you’re saying, but players like Tarquez Myers, Jakai Frasier, Landon Hayes, and Jaden Kinard have all said you already have someone that can give you all those things, plus, they’ve all voiced they want Coach Coleman to continue to coach the team.”

“I know they do, but it’s not up to me right now. It has to go through the committee,” he answered. “I have been in athletics my whole life. I’ve taught most sports that are in high schools; football, baseball, basketball… I love sports, I’m a sportsman, and believe me when I say, my concern is what is best for the children. However, because of their (Evans and Coleman) agreement, the members of the committee, like me, are going to honor Principal Evan’s word about officially hiring a new coach.”

Quite coincidentally, I have been trying to get an audience with Dr. Dozier as he’s soon to retire. He’s been with the school system for many years and it will be sad to see him leave us.

I do hope they work out this situation and even more so, having talked to the parents and students, I hope Coach Coleman is a viable contender. I believe Jakai Frasier said it best to me, “We really want someone like Coach Coleman to stay. Some of us really need a male role model in our lives and we’ve found a positive one in him.”

In the end, I really want to thank Principal Craig Stone for taking so much time with me. I truly enjoyed our time together and hope to see you around town. Good luck with the coach situation.