Thoughts on the moves at Southern Lee

A lot happened at Southern Lee on Tuesday.

A lot.

Before Tuesday, a lot happened on Monday, when several parents of Cavaliers players and at least seven Cavaliers players met to discuss why former Southern Lee wrestling coach and offensive coordinator Mike Short wasn’t granted an interview for the head football coaching position left vacated by the removal of Bill Maczko.

But Tuesday was even busier, first with reports of Short being transferred to West Lee before other reports of him resigning from the school system altogether.

After that on Tuesday night, the Lee County Board of Education certified Eric Puryear as the new Cavaliers coach. Puryear comes to Sanford after serving as the defensive backs coach at Wingate University. Before that, Puryear was the defensive  coordinator at Division-II Johnson C. Smith.

It looks like a fantastic hire for the Cavaliers. But the story obviously doesn’t end there, and honestly, it doesn’t start there. Too much has happened.

With that said, let’s go through some of the comments from the day, and see if everybody can move forward.

“Anytime you take a job, you have to sell yourself, basically because you’re like a new product.” Eric Puryear


Puryear could not have started off a better foot with this comment. It shows he understands what the Cavaliers have been through, recognizes it and is willing to put himself on the line.

“The quickest way to get past what happened last year is to win. We’re going to try to do that as a coaching staff, and with the help of Principal Rod Dietrich and (Athletic Director) Cletis Gore, we’re going to be trying to get the community involved as much as possible.” Eric Puryear


Another wise comment, I believe, from Puryear, who seems to “get it”. This is going to be tougher than even he may realize right now, and it’s hard to believe that Dietrich and Gore will be welcomed with open arms for a while, but it would be a great start to mending things.

“Coach Puryear brings a lot of coaching experience with him from the level all of our players are trying to get to. He has a good foundation of coaching experience that will move us forward.” Southern Lee Principal Rob Dietrich


Trying to get players to next level wasn’t necessarily happening last year. This might just be what the doctor ordered.

“It’s hard to believe (Short) could come down to the final three last year, but that he doesn’t deserve an interview a year later.” Cavs parent Royce Gaines


Still true. Still very, very true. It’s hard to believe that the events of the last month — heck, the last year — couldn’t have been handled better at every turn. But if Short wasn’t a clear-cut candidate, what’s wrong in saying so? Why can’t anybody give an explanation for anything?

“I hope parents will appreciate that we make decisions that we feel is  in the best interests for our student-athletes. We would not put someone in the position that we feel would not advance the program. We are privy to information that parents are not privy to, and we take all of that into consideration when we make decisions that affect students’ lives.” Superintendent Dr. Jeff Ross


I agree this is the aim, and honestly, I think it’s the truth. But actions will always speak louder than words. 

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


This may not be quantifiable in the won-loss record next year. But I imagine there will be a lot indications how things are going by how the Cavaliers compete next season.

“No comment.” Mike Short, Rob Dietrich, Dr. Jeff Ross


Understandable — to a degree. OK, so it’s policy not to comment on personnel. Fine. But people, especially those who have children in the school system, deserve to know why a teacher was removed from any capacity. That’s just how I feel, I guess.

With all that’s been going on, Southern Lee had to make a decisive and standout hire. I believe the administration has done that. Let’s see where it all goes now.

For more on Eric Puryear and his credentials, which are considerable, go here.

 

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3 Comments

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

3 responses to “Thoughts on the moves at Southern Lee

  1. mary t

    we cant undue any of the unfortuate events that have taken place today,but we need to forge forward in spite of all of it for no other reason but the boys they need to know who and why they are playing and that there is support for the team we dont have to support the events that unfolded today or the responsible parties to which they were handed from but … we have to chin up for our boys

  2. Terry T

    Great story Alex and I agree that Coach Puryear seems to be a much needed shot in the arm to the Southern Lee football program.

    However, I’d like to comment on a couple of things that Coach Puryear and some of the board members said:

    “The quickest way to get past what happened last year is to win. We’re going to try to do that as a coaching staff, and with the help of Principal Rod Dietrich and (Athletic Director) Cletis Gore, we’re going to be trying to get the community involved as much as possible.” Eric Puryear

    The community was already involved. Parents, including myself, volunteered our time and money to support the football program and keep the coaches doing what they do best. Coach. They didn’t have to worry about painting the field or finding a chain crew every week and if they were short for pre-game meals, all they had to do was ask. All of the time and effort that parents and supporters put into the program was summarily ignored by Rob Dietrich. He doesn’t want to hear from parents and he doesn’t care what they think. As evidenced by the way Coach Short was treated.

    “I hope parents will appreciate that we make decisions that we feel is in the best interests for our student-athletes. We would not put someone in the position that we feel would not advance the program. We are privy to information that parents are not privy to, and we take all of that into consideration when we make decisions that affect students’ lives.” Superintendent Dr. Jeff Ross

    “I agree this is the aim, and honestly, I think it’s the truth. But actions will always speak louder than words.”

    I totally agree. Actions do speak louder than words and there are zero words coming from these board members or the superintendent.

    I sent an email to the entire board as well as the superintendent, about the way Coach Short was being treated. I didn’t get one response. Not one. Not even a “We’re sorry but, we can’t comment on that.” Nice communication with the people who put you folks on the board. I’ll remember that.

    They say they make decisions based on what’s best for the student athletes and that they wouldn’t put someone in the head coaching position that wouldn’t advance the program. Yet, that’s exactly what they did with the last hire. Put somebody in the position that took the program several steps backward instead of moving it forward and they certainly didn’t do what’s in the student athletes best interest, by removing one of the most successful coaches that Southern Lee has had in it’s short history.

    I now don’t believe a word that comes out of any of their mouths. Including one of the newer members who I thought was going to be different and bring a new perspective to this board but, he apparently has been assimilated.

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

    Good. I like this statement and will give the new coach all the support he needs or asks for to help accomplish this goal.

    Careful though coach. This principal and this school board, will turn on you in a heartbeat, no matter how successful you are, if it suits their personal agenda.

    Having said that, best of luck to you. I’m looking forward to seeing you get to work.

  3. Shoopt

    Just treat our kids with dignity and respect. In today’s society a parent can’t even spank their own child in public. How can an educator put their hands on kids and destroy personal property and that be OK? Then the administration tells parents you are trying to run thing or we will not address it because you failed to follow the grievance procedure correctly.
    We just want our kids to be treated right!!

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