NOTE: Almost two months after I wrote this post, Sean Carty was reinstated as head football coach at Mead High School. Backed by the community, Coach Carty fought hard against a very small group of parents. It didn’t take long for all allegations to be completely discredited. The district struck down the decision of the principal and immediately reinstalled Carty to full head coaching duties. CLICK HERE for my wrap up blog post that includes reaction from Coach Carty.
Late last night a good friend and former high school teammate of mine sent me this link. I read it with sadness. The article conveyed the news that the head football coach of Mead High School in Spokane, WA., would not have his contract renewed. I attended Mead (2005) where I played football under Sean Carty’s program for all four years. My brother (2008) also played four years of football for Coach Carty. Preceding both my brother and myself, my sister (2002) was a track athlete and a gymnast in high school. While Carty surely didn’t coach her in gymnastics, he was an assistant coach on the girls’ track and field team.
As you can see, my family has had a long history with Sean Carty. With this timeline established, I want to say two things.
First, when I was a member of the Mead High School football team, Coach Carty ran a clean, honest program. During my three years suiting up for varsity we had a losing season, a championship season, and a 500 season. Throughout these very different experiences, Carty always did what was best for the team. I can honestly say that the four years I spent in the Mead football program made me a better person. I learned how to persevere, win, work, think, compete, communicate, work out, fundraise, prepare, and more. I am not embellishing anything when I say the following, many of the most important lessons I learned came under the tutelage of Sean Carty and his staff.
Now, I will admit that it has been ten years since I played football. It has been seven years for my brother. Things change, people change. However, I have a hard time believing that Coach Carty’s philosophy and methods could change so much as some might allege.
Second, parents ruin things. I saw it when I played, I saw it when I worked in intercollegiate athletics, and I even see it now…people who should just keep their mouths shut don’t. Luckily for me, I grew up with two parents who respected all of my coaches and would never think about confronting them, let alone going behind their backs and over their heads. But it happens every single day in America. Dads and moms live through their kids and/or erroneously believe that they know more than the coaches who spend countless hours pouring their souls into a program. It is an absolute shame. What is an even bigger travesty is when parents take it upon themselves to make the life of a coach miserable, or, in some cases, ruin it.
Coach Carty could be a tough coach. But he was also a fair coach. As he throws what many might consider a Hail Mary as he appeals the termination, I hope the school district really analyzes its final decision. An overall winning record with fourteen issue-free seasons should always trump a group of disgruntled parents.
A couple years after Coach Carty took over as head coach, he hauled a giant boulder from his property and had it installed on the edge of the football practice fields. He painted it gold, called it “The Rock”, and started a beloved tradition where the hardest working football player each week would have his name written on that rock. At the start of every new season it was painted over and the process started again. If Sean Carty’s appeal falls on deaf ears and he is not head football coach of the Mead Panthers next season, I sure hope the high school rightfully names that rock after him. It is the least they could do. Don’t Blink.