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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Retreads Won't Cut It for Chapman High Football

My car in high school was the ultimate piece—of junk, that is.  I drove a 1980 Mazda GLC mini-station wagon, stick shift, power nothing, AM radio and no a/c. 

Yes, anyone who saw it or suffered the indignity of riding in it could tell you that it was junk.  For what it lacked in style and appearance, it made up for it by having absolutely no character or sex appeal.  It only got worse, especially after I wrecked it three times.

But the car would run.  And run it did.  It was loud and it shook and it was held together by duct tape more than metal, but it ran.  It wore out tires at the rate of at least one a month, and we weren’t about to put new tires on it.  We just kept buying used tires and retreads at $5 a pop.

Yeah, it was a pain, but a whole lot cheaper than buying a new car. 

Unfortunately, a lot of schools employ that same philosophy in their athletic departments.  And it will get you by for a while.  But it gets old in a hurry, and eventually something new has to be purchased.

Chapman High School is facing a decision:  Do we want to hold together our football program with duct tape and retreads?  Or is it time to get something new?

This is the time for Chapman High School to get something new, and stop trying to run on retreads.  Eight wins in four seasons is plenty of evidence that the car can’t be fixed, and it’s time to go in a different direction.  Kevin Farmer’s departure provides that opportunity.

It’s going to take a lot more than just a new coach.  And if the powers-that-be fail to acknowledge that, the next coach will suffer the same fate as Farmer.

Like it or not, success in high school athletics, particularly in Spartanburg County, takes a colossal investment.  It takes good coaching, good off-season programs, community support, and plenty of money.  All of these things need to happen if Chapman is ever going to succeed at the 3A level.

Chapman doesn’t need to bring in someone who is a career .500 coach just because they might have coaching experience.  They don’t need to bring in anyone’s “buddy” from another school district.  They don’t need to bring someone who is going to bring in his “buddies” as assistants.

This program has suffered long enough.   It needs someone who can rally the community, grow the enthusiasm of the players, and create a new tradition of winning. 

Those in charge of this decision need to avoid the “safe” route of getting the first experienced head coach that they can find.  They need to decide on an overall plan for making District 1 athletics a success, and commit the resources necessary to make that happen.

In other words, slapping on another retread just isn’t going to cut it.  It’s not only time for a brand new set of tires.  It’s time to get a brand new machine.    

Anything less will just barely keep the old worn-out model running.  If sweeping change is not made, it will continue running in a less-than-mediocre fashion.

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