Jody Stouffer will be missed

 

Jody Stouffer worked hardest for the most important at Lee County — his players.

Jody Stouffer worked hardest for the most important at Lee County — his players.

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.

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3 Comments

Filed under ACC, Cape Fear Valley Conference, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Grace Christian, Lee Christian, Lee County High School, N.C. playoff brackets, N.C. State Championships, North Carolina Tar Heels, Northwood, Prep sports, Southern Lee High School, Sports, Sports columns, The Sanford Herald, Tri-8 Conference, UNC Tar Heels, Wake Forest, Western Harnett

3 responses to “Jody Stouffer will be missed

  1. Lucas

    Coach Stouffer is an upstanding guy, and a great coach. I’ve talked with former players who knew him only for a short time, and they have nothing but nice things to say about him. Through knowing him personally, I can say that he’s an even greater person then is suggested here. A great guy, an upstanding guy, and one that lets kids see the big picture. Helping kids get an education was obviously a big deal to him. It’s a shame that the AD decided they needed to go in a different direction. If High School Sports is about money, perhaps they should reimburse coaches accordingly.

    If its about politics, well…maybe there should be a restructuring of the program itself. Some things aren’t fair to contend with.

  2. Ted

    I can only echo what Lucas and add the following:

    In the article you said, “…Stouffer resigned his post as head football coach of the Yellow Jackets on Friday. He wasn’t fired” and then added, “Stouffer never gave up on anything.” Well, you got the second part right. Having known Jody for years, I know what kind of commitment he had to his players. I’ve seen the hours spent watching game film, seeing his team come to the hospital with a signed football when his daughter was born, calling him up to see if he wanted to get together and only to have him tell me that he’s in another state with some players visiting colleges. This is not the kind of man who walks away from anything without tying up the loose ends and trust me, if he ever resigned, it would not have been a two sentence statement. He would never be that terse; he would have fully explained himself. I don’t care what anyone says, or doesn’t say for that matter, he was forced to resign or be fired and anyone who says anything different is lying or being kept in the dark by school administrators who are concerned only with covering their collective you-know-what’s. As long as the current administration is left in place and not held accountable, and by that I mean fired, the school will remain at the bottom of their district.

    Let’s be honest, if it’s about wins and losses most of the athletic programs at Lee County would be shut down by now. If the AD (Womack) had any backbone at all, he’d step up and either take responsibility for the collective athletic short falls of the school or at least explain why he and others (Greg Batten knows who I’m referring to) forced out a coach who clearly cared about his student-athletes. But it’s hard to show that kind of backbone when you’re spineless.

  3. Nobody...

    This kinda reminds me of the Bill Wyrick scenario at Western Harnett. The school splits, the football program gets hit the hardest, and the coach — despite having a great reputation for being a role model for his players — is ousted because he can’t weather the storm.

    IMO, if Western had kept Wyrick one more year, that team of seniors & juniors would’ve made the playoffs just as they did this year, but at least with one – maybe two – extra wins.

    Now Lee County will probably lose 1 or 2 games it shouldn’t as the players get used to a new coach. Patience folks. Just have some freakin patience once in awhile.

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