Alan Dell

Pirates’ next coach can’t be short-timer

Finding a head football coach for Braden River is no routine matter.

There is a healing that has to begin, and it’s going to take a special person. Knowledge of X’s and O’s is not enough.

The new coach doesn’t have to be Superman, but he needs to be wearing an S on his chest.

“We want stability. Anybody who has a lot of traveling on his resume will be out of the question,” said Braden River athletic director Bob Bowling.

It would be hard to find a football program that has undergone so much pain and instability in the past year. Former head coach Josh Hunter resigned after the tragic accident he was involved in last March that took the life of Pirates assistant coach Doug Garrity.

Ed Volz replaced Hunter, and the healing seemed under way, but he bolted after less than a year on the job, and some old wounds reopened. A one-and-done coach was the last thing the football players needed.

“These kids have been through an awful lot, and none of it is their fault,” Bowling said. “You are dealing with 16- and 17-year-olds, and the football coach is like a father figure to most of them. They are hurting and need stability.”

There have been no shortage of candidates. At the end of last week, 73 resumes from 24 states made their way onto Bowling’s desk.

Principal Jim Pauley will form a committee to go through the pile and narrow it down to about five, who will be called in for interviews. In the end, Bowling and Pauley will likely make the final decision.

Whoever gets the job has to be part teacher, part friend, part philosopher, part coach. He has to be sensitive to the landscape and understand what he is walking into. The ability to read a defense isn’t as important as the ability to understand the players and their off-the-field losses.

There are players who will be reluctant to put their faith and trust in the new coach. He will have to earn it, and that will take time. They’ve been burned, and wounds take time to heal.

A fire and brimstone coach will find it difficult. Discipline is needed, but so is compassion. What has happened to the Braden River football program in the past 10 months defied reality in many ways.

This is not a one-way street because the new coach will inherit something that will work for the right person.

Entering its fourth year of varsity football next season, the program has been to the playoffs two straight years and has some quality athletes. They play hard, work hard and are loyal. All they are asking for in return is a commitment. Don’t use them as a stepping stone.

The Pirates aren’t looking for a miracle worker, but the new coach could be rewarded with miracle-like results. The building blocks are in place, and a builder who won’t walk away before the job is finished could find a gold mine.