One day — maybe — we won’t concern ourselves so much about wins and losses for our high school sports.
Don’t get me wrong — we always want our kids to win. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It hurts us to see our kids work so hard to gain so little glory.
But high school sports, especially the ones that are earmarked to make money for the athletic department, are becoming zero-sum games, it seems. Never mind what a coach does for the kids of the program, no matter how far beyond the scope of his duties he marches to go the extra mile to help a kid out in real life, such generosities are lost in the backs of the minds of the powers that be when there aren’t the necessary number of wins to go along with them.
Did that happen to Jody Stouffer and Lee County? It’s hard to tell, and it’s not fair for me to say. That’s a heavy charge against anyone, so I’m not going to do it. After all, Stouffer resigned his post as head football coach of the Yellow Jackets on Friday. He wasn’t fired. Or so it’s been said, by both Stouffer and Lee County.
But there’s no denying that Stouffer knew the pressure of needing to win a few more ballgames. He could shrug it off and keep plugging away, because that’s his nature. Stouffer never gave up on anything.
Not a game.
And definitely not a kid.
It’s hard to find another coach in our county who did more for his players in terms of trying to get them into college. Before anyone else was doing it here, Stouffer was helping to cut and splice together DVDs of highlights of his players to ship out to schools he thought would be good fits.
For his efforts, at least 14 Jackets’ players got the chance to play some level of college football — from the ACC to Division III — because of Stouffer. (Does it even need to be said that it wasn’t the football that was the most important thing in Stouffer’s efforts?) That would be a tough number for any other coach of any other program in Lee County to match in a career, let alone in just four seasons.
Go ahead and try.
All of that said, Stouffer didn’t win enough. In this day and age of high school athletics — and in particular, football — five wins in two seasons and zero postseason berths isn’t going to get it done.
Too bad, because for all anyone can say about his abilities as a head coach, Lee County lost a man who boasts what is supposed to be the most important attribute of all:
A deep, passionate sense and need to care for our kids.