There have been 14 coaching vacancies (and counting) over the last two years in the York-Adams League, with some teams having openings in both offseasons.
Maybe I was being naive.
Or maybe I'm a realist. Either way, my opinion doesn't matter. But, I'm going to make it heard anyway.
Football in York County isn't the NFL. Nor is it major college football. So maybe school boards should stop treating it as such.
If you're wondering where I'm going with this, it has to do with the rash of coaches that have been fired in the last two years. If my math serves me correctly, there have been 14 head football coaching vacancies in the last two offseasons of the York-Adams League. There are only 23 teams in the league, so that means over the last two years, there could've been, at most, 46 changes. Maybe 14 out of a possible 46 doesn't seem like much, but when you consider that this level of football is still for development purposes, it becomes very alarming.
I played enough sports growing up that I get once you enter high school, winning and losing plays a huge part and it's not just about "going out and having fun." I also get that these football coaches are being paid to do a job, albeit not very much, and that in most other jobs, if you don't perform, then you rightfully get fired.
However, what I don't get is the lack of opportunities and chances some of these coaches are receiving. While not every situation is created equal, what does seem to be equal is the unfair way most of these coaches are being dealt with when being shown the door. In a few cases just this offseason, we've seen a couple coaches be let go after only one or two years on the job. New Oxford and York Tech are both entering their second straight offseason looking for new coaches after this past year's head guys left, or were let go, after just one season. There weren't a whole lot of specifics given on why the Colonials opened up their head football position for a second straight year, but in the case of the Spartans, there were more details and not pretty ones.
Brain Hanson didn't have his contract renewed for a second season after the York Tech athletic director, Rob Caruso, basically gave Hanson the lowest grade possible in every category, but one, in his year-end evaluation. What wasn't included in that assessment of Hanson's performance was how he got the program out of a bind, taking over for the team in July after the previous coach, Matt Glennon, resigned because he was essentially fed up with the lack of commitment from the school board being shown to the team. The voiced displeasure over Hanson's firing at a school board meeting in November proved as much, with former longtime assistant coach, Guy Achtzehn questioning why teachers and administrators can get years to show progress in the academic learning, but they won't reciprocate it to the football program.
While not said in as many words, the situation for Dave Kemmick at Eastern York was similar. His contract wasn't renewed by the school for a third season after they informed him that the direction they wanted the program to go in was not in line with his vision. They asked him to resign, but he refused to because, as he put it, "did nothing wrong," so the school will just let his contract expire and look for a new coach over the winter. Kemmick claimed that his vision when he was first hired was to play ""tough, physical football" and teach "the kids stuff like respect and integrity." I'd say he lived up to that billing given the fact that he went 11-10 overall in two seasons and made the playoffs in 2014. Yet, the school pulled the plug on him before he could ever really get his stable footing and establish his own imprint on the Golden Knights program.
Lastly, there is — or I guess was at this point — messy situation regarding longtime Central York head football and boys' volleyball coach, Brad Livingston. Livingston was fired on Friday afternoon after serving 34 years as the head football coach and nearly five decades with the boys' volleyball team. In a way, he was much more than a coach to thousands of people during that time, yet was treated much less than such when his job future was left dangling in the wind for the better part of two weeks.
The saga finally concluded on Friday, predictably with the school board deciding to move on from Livingston, despite a steady plea by the Central York community for the board to reconsider its stance on Livingston's future. But, it didn't, figuring that it was time to move on from a man up there in age and coming off one of his worst seasons in his tenure. The product on the field was more important to them than anything he taught his players and students in 40-plus years.
It's the grim reality for high school football coaches in the area that, if you don't win, you're gone. School boards rarely see the impact behind the scenes, just the record from the product on the field. Typically, that record is a reflection of constant turnover and change when you don't give coaches a chance to make an impact on a program and give the players a chance to buy-in and adjust.
So, here's a bit of reality for the board members — not every team can win eight games a season and make a District 3 playoff run. There are going to be ups and downs and you need to be patient.
But, as we're seeing, that patience has all but gone away and, soon, so will the coaching candidates.
Nobody will want to coach at a school where there's a trend of turnover and no support.
Give these guys the time and chances to succeed. You'll be better off doing so in the long run.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org