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Swainsboro gets buzzed by coach controversy

The thud that you heard from 100 miles south last week was not more tree limbs cracking from the weight of winter ice. With Coach Buzz Busby's "unforced" resignation it was the sound of the Statesboro High football program crashing to its knees. The blow was not struck by a rival like Thomson or Swainsboro but by its very own principal.

There's an old country saying about preachers that come on too strong from the pulpit and start stepping on toes. It goes something like, "preacher, you done quit preachin' and gone to meddlin'."

The school administration in Bulloch County has quit administering and gone to meddlin'.

The principal's December firing and the subsequent reinstatement of Coach Busby that occurred before the Blue Devils' semifinal game in the Georgia Dome has been well documented.

Among all the reports, rumors and innuendo, one thing is for certain: Busby made the principal look like a fool. Some may say that Busby enjoyed doing so, but beyond a doubt the principal asked for it and literally handed Busby the opportunity on a silver platter. In fact he really left Busby little choice.

Discipline within a team should be the domain of only the coaching staff. Only if a child is mistreated should the administration intervene. This is a case where a wise administrator would have stayed out of the way.

Busby was doing what he felt he had to do to keep order on the football team. No coach driving toward a potential state championship creates an unnecessary distraction by kicking anyone off the team without cause. Busby may be stubbornly committed to his principles, but he is not stupid.

If a kid with a disability participates in a sport but is dismissed from the team for breaking the rules, have his rights been violated? He has not lost his right to an education. The Supreme Court can't convince me that belonging to a team is a right. If it is a right, a lot of time is being wasted with tryouts and practices. Just pass out the jerseys.

The principal also muscled in by ordering Busby to award the student a football letter that he did not earn. Will the free jerseys now be coming with letters attached? Will this become standard practice? What's next? Will school boards start anointing Star Students and honor graduates?

I have more than a hunch that this principal had an agenda beyond securing a roster spot and letter for one kid on the football team. Historically Statesboro has a revolving door on the Principal's office. Maybe this guy is just trying to keep his job by greasing a squeaky wheel such as a fussy parent or board member.

Maybe he wished to feed his own ego. I was told by a reliable source Busby rebuked the principal's suggestion to change the football weight workouts. Maybe he was trying to use this situation as an excuse to run off a successful coach that would not be a yes man.

Don't be surprised if this mess results in long-term problems for Statesboro High School. It will be shameful if this top-notch program suffers because of petty politics and vendettas among adults. Let's hope that such foolishness never winds its' way 100 miles to the north of Bulloch County.



Web posted on Wednesday, February 4, 2004


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