I've resided in Marietta 30 years. For 24 years I've been associated with the Marietta City Schools, Tiger Athletic Boosters, extracurricular program and the Marietta Youth League. Not as a teacher, coach or just a diehard fan; but as a volunteer.
I've worked with seven superintendents, six high school principals and eight athletic directors. In my 24th year with the Athletic Boosters as president (twice), vice president (three times) and director. Just finished 23rd season as the Tiger's public announcer for football, basketball and a few times crew, baseball and track.
Before arriving in Marietta, I coached a lot of sports. I was a student athlete from grade school, high school, college and even one year in the NFL. I was also a member of the 1972 Olympic platform diving team.
Experiences, not my expertise. Enjoyed three of my own participate in several sports through school. My youngest graduated in 2001. Obviously that did not end my involvement in these programs. I am still involved because I want to do all that I can to ensure a program is there for all student athletes. But I wouldn't dismiss rumors as waiting for my grandkids to come through or waiting for the Tiger Boosters to come up with a retirement program either. I've even maintained a sense of humor.
I oversaw a bingo program that generated over $1 million in a 10-year period; helped raise thousands of dollars in improvements to Don Drumm Stadium; softball fields; Devola soccer complex; Sutton gymnasium and Marietta Middle School gym. Helped set up financial aid programs and scholarships and more. All for the student athlete.
I've served on committees including search and interviews for coaches.
In recent years it's been disappointing to see some of these selections dismissed (contract non-renewed) for reasons that make no sense by an uncommon process that leads to an unfair dismissal without representation or public explanation.
The loss of football coach Schob a good example. A lot of time interviewing candidates that applied and the selection of him was taken serious. Others were given serious consideration, but selecting Schob was the best selection.
A tremendous job ahead of him. No quick fix, but he set out to build a solid foundation immediately. While doing so, he had to find a way to at least maintain the status quo while instilling positive and spirited attitudes. A head coach has to appease the administration, athletes, parents, fans and the community. It takes time; it takes patience and certainly requires the support and understanding of everyone involved.
History has shown we've had administrators that didn't understand this and were easily persuaded by disgruntled parents and fans. Impatient for a quick fix, upset over playing time or simply upset over coaching decisions or coaching technique.
The athletic handbook describes the process for handling complaints for a resolution. Some have ignored these rules and have gone directly to a school board member or show up at a board meeting to air their concerns and demand immediate action. Sad and sorry to say, they succeed at times.
I've never witnessed before what occurred to the Tiger varsity football team this past season with injuries.
Injuries are a part of the game. To lose so many skilled positions in one season is unheard of. Not injuries for lack of good conditioning. These injuries were of the more serious bone and joint injuries that the best conditioning program in the world will not protect against.
I've had the opportunity to work closely with the programs a number of years for invaluable experiences. Good quality coaches are always hard to find. If we are really fortunate, we have an opening for a teacher's position for that same coach. At this level, it is their dedication and willingness to improve a student athlete's ability and not for monetary reasons. A very tough find, but when one is found, they need the time and support of everyone.
To find quality coaches takes a lot of long hours to ensure the best selection for the program. It's becoming more frustrating to see this process be taken so lightly when an excellent coach is dismissed when the administration short-cuts their own standards to eliminate that person and not explain their actions.
How can we draw quality coaches and not willing to give them a chance? I understand that Schob was not officially dismissed, but was made clear to him that if he returns he must replace all of his assistants. A head coach carefully selects his assistants with board approval. Dismissing all the assistants so quickly that he chose to help build the program is not showing the kind of support that is needed.
Enough is enough of the old! A new board in place and a new coach; let's hope for improvement and better support.
Greg Kroft lives in Marietta.