I don’t normally weigh in on local high school sports coach hirings and firings because, well, it’s high school.
These brave souls work with our kids for what amounts to a couple bucks per hour. Some folks have a knack for coaching, but they’re all doing the best they can. They’ve got enough people (and the occasional crazy parent) second-guessing their work.
I will, however, say this: Greenfield-Central made the correct call to bring back Roger Dodson in football.
He’s passionate about the job, interviewing impressively (according to those in the know) after he retired as a teacher and, by state statute, had to give up his coaching position for a minimum 30 days.
I’ve spoken with two area head coaches regarding Dodson’s’ rehire at Greenfield-Central, and they’re both ecstatic for the veteran leader.
“I guess a big part of how I judge a coach is if I would want my son to play for him,” one coach told me. “And I would have no problem with my child playing for coach Dodson.
“From speaking with him and watching his teams, it’s very, very clear he cares about his kids. He’s just a good man.”
Having a player’s best interest at heart and putting marks in the win column aren’t necessarily the same thing, of course.
The Cougars were 4-7 in 2012 and 2-9 last season with an excess of injuries, above the norm even for a sport such as football.
“I thought they made the best of a difficult situation last year,” a coach said of G-C. “From what I saw on film and in person, those kids never stopped playing hard.
“Coach Dodson’s football philosophies are sound and his kids play for him.”
And Dodson, entering his ninth season with the Cougars, has proven he can win, given the talent.
Football is about size and speed. You’ve got to have one or the other, and preferably both to win at the highest levels.
The Cougars, with a few track and field standouts on the roster, went 12-10 over the 2010-11 seasons. In 2010, the Cougars came up only two scores short of a sectional title. G-C lost that championship game to Pendleton Heights, 14-0.
The sectional winning coach? John Broughton, who hadn’t won a title in his previous 34 years as a head coach. In one of the more memorable moments of my time in Hancock County, the Arabians dumped a decades-in-the-making celebratory Gatorade bucket on Broughton after the win.
The Arabians gave Broughton his second career sectional crown the following season, in 2011.
At Shebyville – a Hoosier Heritage Conference member along with G-C and Pendleton Heights – Pat Parks didn’t enjoy his first winning season until his eighth year at the helm, in 2002. Parks and the Golden Bears went on to put together an 11-1, 9-2, 9-3 run from 2007 through 2009.
So, it is possible to find overdue success. Continuity is key. Dodson and his staff provide it. And, with talent in the G-C varsity feeder systems making its way through, maybe Dodson will soon get his long-awaited – and deserved – Gatorade shower.
It’s up to Roy, now
Now on to a topic that everyone has weighed in on: Lance Stephenson’s flight to the Charlotte Hornets.
One thing I haven’t heard mentioned is rebounding, a category in which Stephenson led the Indiana Pacers last season.
Stephenson’s 13.8 points per game can be replaced by whoever takes his spot in the lineup and/or modest improvement from the rest of the fellas.
But losing your top rebounder – and the best rebounding guard in the league at 7.2 per game – shouldn’t be taken lightly. Especially when Roy Hibbert may or may not be softer than a Twinkie.
We know what we’re going to get from Paul George, David West and George Hill next season. Whichever version of Hibbert shows up – All-Star or no stars – will decide the Pacers’ season.
Brian Harmon is the Greenfield Daily Reporter sports editor. Contact him at (317) 477-3227 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.