This past Monday evening, Sean Carty stood up in front of parents at an information meeting and announced his resignation as head football coach at Mead High School. To some who first heard the news, the reaction was shock. Why would someone who fought so admirably to retain his job turn around and walk away? Why would someone who put his name and his reputation on the line to save the post he held for 14 years step down? Why would someone who pulled off one of the greatest victories ever over parent interference and entitlement call it quits? The answer is easy:
This was never about Sean Carty.
This was about securing the confidence of coaches in the district who feared they would have to work according to an outrageous and flawed precedent. This was about preventing parents from thinking they could hire an attorney, make false claims, and ruin someone’s life. This was about retaining the dignity of the Mead community, a community that had its reputation suffer greatly when the initial decision was made. It just so happened that the burden to make things right fell on the shoulders of Sean Carty.
For six turbulent months starting with the investigation and ending with Coach Carty’s reinstatement, the man went through hell. However, even though Sean admits that his “health suffered drastically” throughout the ordeal, he kept fighting until the victorious end because simply it was the right thing to do. He fought so the next amazing coach victimized by delusional parents wouldn’t suffer what he endured, he fought so the district that many of us grew up in wouldn’t become a joke.
After engineering a major win for the Mead community, Carty was finally in a position to do what he felt best for him and his loved ones. Once the parents were silenced and the decision reversed, he decided to step away under his own power and on his own terms.
“The pressure stopped and that is when I felt I could clear my head and finally do what was right for my family and I,” Carty told me last night.
With the crusade behind him and a strong message sent, his family decided that football could go on the back burner for a little bit. Of course, because of the person Sean Carty is, he didn’t take the decision lightly.
“This decision was difficult because I didn’t want to let anyone down,” Carty remarked while once again offering up heaps of gratitude to the community for the tremendous support throughout the trying months.
Carty assured me that neither the district nor parents put pressure on him to resign. Despite a quote from a parent suggesting otherwise in the local newspaper (which he erroneously attributed to the wrong historical figure), defeated moms and dads played no factor. I recognize that I have been critical of this group so let me say that I do appreciate their respect of the reversed decision. Bottom line, you can take it to the bank that Coach Carty’s call to step away wasn’t influenced by anything or anyone besides Sean and his family.
Also, Sean asked for the clarification of one thing. In the Spokesman-Review article that covered his resignation, it mentioned that an improvement plan was completed Friday. In reality, that plan, according to Carty, was “not even a document yet.” In fact, there had only been a loose discussion on what any such document would stipulate. He called this piece of the reinstatement process “no big deal” and added that it “had zero to do with my decision.”
The legacy of Sean Carty during his tenure as head football coach at Mead High School is twofold. The first component will be his success working with students. He will be remembered as a brilliant coach who ran a clean program that produced great individuals. He will be remembered for his four Greater Spokane League Championships and solid win-loss record over a 14-year-span. The tradition, passion, and integrity he brought to Mead football will resonate within the program for a long time.
Of course the battle he fought over the past six months will serve as the second component of his legacy. As I have already talked about what his resiliency meant during this period, let me just say this: A lot of district coaches, community members, and Mead football alumni will be walking up to Sean Carty and shaking his hand for a long time to come.
In the end, Sean Carty got his job and reputation back. However, it took him a couple extra weeks to finally realize what he needed to do to get his life back. He made that decision on Monday night. Just as the community can now move on, so can Sean.
“I am very happy right now and at peace,” a relieved Carty breathed.
You deserve it, Coach. Don’t Blink.