Southern Lee names Eric Puryear as new coach

SANFORD — Since January, there’s been no shortage of controversy surrounding the Southern Lee Cavaliers’ football program.


Now there might be more.


In what may be considered another controversial move in a season of them, Eric Puryear was named as the new head football coach at Southern Lee.


Puryear, who comes to Sanford after serving as the defensive backs coach at Wingate University in 2008 and as the defensive coordinator at Johnson C. Smith University before that, replaces the embattled Bill Maczko, who finished 1-9 in 2008 in his first-year as a head coach, a year marred by parents constantly questioning the direction of the program.


“We’re going to establish organization to the program and we’re going to establish a level of discipline to the program, and our finishied product we put on the field will be able to compete with anyone on our schedule,” Puryear said on Tuesday night.


“I think Coach Puryear will do an outstanding job for us,” Southern Lee Principal Rob Dietrich said.


Many of those parents were hopeful that a finalist for the open position a year ago, former offensive coordinator Mike Short, would be considered for the job. But Short wasn’t granted an interview this time around, and after being transferred to West Lee Middle School early on Tuesday, resigned from the Lee County school system.


Short had no comment on Tuesday.


Dietrich also had no comment about Short.


Filed under Alex Podlogar, Bill Maczko, Cape Fear Valley Conference, Designated Hitter, Eric Puryear, Mike Short, Prep sports, Southern Lee High School, Sports, The Sanford Herald

18 responses to “Southern Lee names Eric Puryear as new coach

  1. Amanda Gaines

    So they try to rebuild the football program with another new face and leave our wrestlers who are 2 time conference champions out in the cold. The wrestling parents are outraged that there was even a consideration to move our proven Winning wrestling coach. Ridiculous and obviously a move that will cost our boys wrestling scholarships.

  2. Amanda Gaines

    I need to clarify I am not upset about the football coach, just how it was gone about. I still do not understand why it was necessary to get rid of Short??? He has done nothing but build these kids up and teach them discipline. He would have been a WONDERFUL asset to this new football program if it was not the decision for him to be head coach. I am devastated about our wrestling team!!! And why this coach who was loved by all except the former coach was run off???

  3. mitchalo

    I don’t blame him for resigning. Moved to West Lee where there was no opening for a football coach…….

    Do we even have wrestling at the Middle School level?

    • mitchalo

      Sorry, I misread the earlier statement. There was an opening for a football coach at West, but I still don’t blame hime for resigning. It shows a real lack of respect from the administration that he was even granted an interview.

  4. Amanda Gaines

    You have to understand where he has taken the wrestling team in the last 3 years….from nothing to 2 year conference champs…it’s almost unheard of!!! We have had 1st year wrestlers even go to States!!! All under his great instruction. He is tough on these kids but he also is the first to tell them Great Job! The kids are so upset.

  5. Terry T

    I completely agree that the administration and the school board, treated Coach Short unfairly and forced him out unnecessarily. Why in the world, would you want to get rid of a State Championship winning coach? It makes absolutely no sense.

    I wish Coach Puryear the best of luck in rebuilding what the current administration has torn down. Knowing Coach Short, I believe even he would agree that this is a good hire and would have done everything he could to help the new coach adjust and get to know the kids.

    But, because of the stupidity and ignorance of the current administration, Coach Puryear will not get the opportunity to benefit from Coach Short’s knowledge and experience with Southern Lee’s student athletes.

    And that’s a shame.

  6. old cavs

    This was the only move the administration could make

    This was the only move the administration could make!! Keeping Short would have been a disaster he would have underminded the new coach just like he did the old coach!! This was stand that I applaud!! Parents you can’t run off a coach and think that you get your own coach, what the parents at SLHS have done is basically cost a young coach his job!!

    • Shoopt

      Mike Short was the one coach that would communicate with the parents when asked to do so. Mike was the one guy that kept saying give Maczko a chance. Unless I have read the statements wrong the parents are powerless and the Superintendent and the Principal are running things with complete anonymity. As Stated by our elected official Mr. Tatum who said we were unaware that a change had been made.

    • Shoopt

      You have seen this before: When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
      Thomas Jefferson
      We concede that the school administration is best at running the school. We also believe parents must be actively involved in the education and educational environment and that we ultimately know what is best for our children.

    • Coach

      Old Cavs,
      First you must be a member of the administration to talk in terms of “undermining the old coach.” Coach Short did nothing I observed as a parent to undermine Coach Maczko. Coach Maczko is responsible for his own unemployment. His conduct on the field and in the locker room undermined the parents’ belief that he was capable of performing as a role model much less mentoring our sons. Several parents brought this unacceptable situation to the attention of the administration at the school level. Yet the administration of the school did nothing until this matter reached the school board.

      Second, do you imply that as parents we forced the school board to take an action that was unwarranted? You state “you parents can’t run off a coach and think that you get your own coach.” The implication is that you do not believe that Coach Maczko needed to be fired. Where is your moral courage? If you believe he should stay and bully our sons, please state so clearly. Otherwise, I think you should consider hiring a lawyer when Coach Maczko finds you have no grounds for dismissal. Since I don’t see any new lawyers on retainer, I suspect the School Board found cause to remove Coach Maczko. It then follows that there is cause to remove Coach Maczko. It also follows since the administration failed to do so before the school board intervened, the administration is not competent to select the coach. Then it would be presumable that we as parents should have a say in selecting the new coach.

  7. Busdriver

    Old Cav,
    The parents at SL did not run off the old coach. He did that on his own with antics not associated with his performance as a coach, or lack thereof. If you are familiar with why he left, discuss it, if not, just remember, ignorance is bliss….

    • rnekus


      You are so right.Maczko did his own self in off the field.Many have said that this was all about wins and loses,that is so far from the truth.Maczko was a “BULLY” in every sense off the word.To his staff his players and his supporters.Short on the other hand was everyones friend and mentore.We the parents off SLHS deserve answers that will never be given.Meeting have been asked for but will never be granted.How can we the parents of SLHS ever trust the current administration if they will noy talk to us….Show us the problems you see,let us show you the problems we see and let’s work together.For now….your out in left field on your own with no support from your biggest supporters……your SLHS FAMILY!!!

      • inpo4you

        When you say “we the parents” I would like to clarify that you are not speaking for ALL parents as your post implies. There are many that are still supportive of our school and our leadership. Walk a mile in their shoes……you MIGHT feel a little differntly.

  8. inpo4you

    As a parent of childern at Southern Lee I’m discouraged by many of the comments both written and spoken of the leadership at our school. I have always found dealings with Mr. Deitrich and the AD Coach Gore to be pleasant and responsive and have always felt by their actions that they have the students best interest at heart. I can only imagine how hard it is to handle the many situations that arrive daily at high school. While we are all at our day jobs, whatever they may be, these leaders are taking care of our children and they need our support not our bickering and bantering. Parents need to think about what kind of example they are setting for their children by saying such hurtful things and instead of throwing stones, ask how they can help make things better for everyone…..not just one person. Coach Short will find another place to coach and teach and will go on and do well I’m sure, but our kids will be here at SL and we need to support the people who stayed, not the ones who left!

    • Terry T


      I used to feel the same way about Mr. Dietrich. I thought he had the best interests of the school at heart and wanted to continue the successful road the school was on before he got there. Then, he flat out lied to me, in his office, about Coach Short.

      Speaking to him casually in passing, one would get the impression that he genuinely cares. This couldn’t be further from the truth as witnessed by the teachers that will be leaving come June 30th and the ones that want to leave but, with school budgets being tightened, there may be no place for them to go.

      Mr. Dietrich talks a good game and would make a great used car salesman

      You’re absolutely correct that Coach Short will land on his feet and do well. He might even be back at Southern. As an opposing coach, showing the administration why they should have kept him.

      It’s ironic that you say, “we need to support the people who stayed, not the ones who left!” That’s one of the main reasons Coach Short had so much support. When everyone else abandoned Southern Lee, teachers, coaches administrators, Coach Short stayed behind. He was loyal to the school and the students.

      Look what they did to thank him for it.

  9. Busdriver

    Personally, I would rather not have anything negative to say about the “leadership” at SLHS. While your experiences dealing with said individuals may have been pleasant, I implore you to take your own example: “walk a mile in their shoes”. Have you every thought that something may actually be wrong? Have you dared to think that there is a double standard, even an “I’ll make an example out of…..” attitude? By reading your thread, I would say not.

    I am I a big supporter of Coach Short, yes. I am a bigger supporter of how my child is raised and what they are taught at school. I entrust my children to these people, not only for their “educational” direction and developement, by just as much for their “moral”. My children know the line at home, but they are confused as to the dealings at school. So, I am worried about what my children are learning from this, FROM BOTH SIDES! My wife and I have been very open with why and what we are doing, every single step of the way. I KNOW the administration has not been as forthcoming with theirs.

    So when I choose not to support an administration at a school that I personally have put more than my fair share of time into, I have every reason. My children know my reasons, and why I care to voice them. So my question to you is this: Should I not teach my children to stand up for themselves, or others, when there is a wrong being commited? Or should I just force them to carry on and “support” the actions?

    • Shoopt

      You should be discouraged, I am!! The parents that have come forth have done so as they are involved parents. Involved in the lives of their children and the activities their children are involved in. For the most part I would say they all believe as I do, that the most important thing they will do in their life time is raise their children. At every turn the administration has slow rolled and flat refused to talk to us. Our young principal does not have high school age children what is the real depth of his knowledge. This is his first year and the AD’s first year are they as experienced as someone that has been in the job for say three or four years? Yet we are to believe they know what is best. Have you not progressed on your job, or are you the same as when you were first hired?
      The real problem with our schools is this as kid go through the system so do their parents and when the kids are gone so are those parents that would speak out for change. Really what has our Board of Education done? Two academically sub performing high schools, busted budget, teacher cuts, program cuts and more. The real deal is this whole thing is just a byproduct of bad management.

  10. Busdriver

    I agree. I truly believe that the current administration and BOE will agree with you with the statement of “as kids go through the system, so do the parents, and when the kids are gone, so are the parents”. I believe this is what they are banking on! They want our kids out, they want us out! They want us to voice our opinion, and be like good little boys and girls, and sit down and shut our mouths about it! I refuse to! I have two more children coming through this system, and good Lord willing, I will follow them through as well. This is not the last time I will voice my opinion on any matter that I can speak knowledgably about.

    Our current administration, from the BOE, superintendant, and most of the principles, care more about what they “think” is right. They care more about the image the put out, than the students they produce. My loyalties are always going to be on what is best for the students. I truly believe what are children learn the most comes from the home, and the life they lead from the examples shown to them by their parents. Having said this, it makes it impossible when they are told to make a well informed decision by weighing all the options and FACTS, but then they get to school, and someone wants to “make an example out of” someone, and everything we spent instilling in our children, ha been thrown by the wayside……

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