The Triumph of Sean Carty and the Community

It just usually doesn’t turn out this way.

Many times when an organization makes a personnel decision, especially an educational body, the decision stands. Although a full line of appeals await, many times it is fruitless. Even in this recent Mead High School case where the verdict was so flawed and so knee-jerk, the powers that be usually don’t budge. In fact, in my initial blog post addressing the non-renewal of the head football coach’s contract, I likened the chances of a reversal to the completion of a Hail Mary. I guess I didn’t give full consideration to the fact that they were dealing with Sean Carty.

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When I received word last night that the Mead School District had struck down the principal’s decision and reinstated Carty to his head coach position, I was elated. I typed out an all-caps text message laced with question marks and exclamation points and sent it to the man himself. Carty responded in the best way possible.

Could this have been more perfect?

Could this have been more perfect?

Yesterday at around 3 p.m., the superintendent informed Carty in-person that the job he had held with honor, integrity, and success for 14 years was still his. By 3:30 p.m. he was strategizing on how he would bring the team, all players and all parents included, closer together than ever before. Think about that for one second. If you had a small group of people who literally made your life hell for six months and did all they could to take away your passion, wouldn’t you want to rub your vindication in their faces? Not Carty. He is not dwelling on the lies and the smear campaign. In fact, he probably wouldn’t even address it if you asked him. Sean says he is all about uniting the team and that the actions of a few adults is “water under the bridge.”

I want to take Carty’s lead and not dwell on the parents. Rather, I would much rather focus on Coach Carty’s resiliency. Or I would much rather focus on the humility of the Mead School District to correct the mistake of one of its administrators. Or I would much rather focus on the savvy and intelligence of the three men who helped represent Carty through the appeals process…Don Beloved, Paul Kautzman, and David Whitehead. Or I would much rather focus on the patience of the assistant coaches who also battled through this storm without contracts. Or I would much rather focus on the strength of Carty’s wife and two daughters who had to witness the injustice.

Sean Carty would like to focus on the community. Both in our texts last night and a brief call this morning, he expressed his gratitude to the people of Mead and elsewhere who supported him. Former players, current players, athletes, non-athletes, parents, staff, and so many other groups immediately came to his defense. It was a tough time but the overwhelming support he was given made a huge difference. He has his job and his reputation back but Carty told me those wins pale in comparison to something else:

“Just knowing that I had a positive impact and that people believed in me is victory enough.”

I would also like to express my gratitude to the community as well. I was so impressed with all the people who contacted me wanting to do anything they could to help out. Some of these people I had not talked to in years, most I had never talked to in my life. Coach Carty stood up for what was right and fought this. But the collaborative effort of the community gave him that extra boost he needed. Social media is extremely powerful.

The sun shined down a little brighter off the blue track that circles the football field at Mead High School this morning. Those same rays also radiated off the big gold rock that greets each player before practice. Thankfully, the school will now have to wait a little longer until they name it after Sean Carty. All is right in Panther Land again, the good of high school athletics triumphed over the bad. Don’t Blink.

Big Developments in Carty Case and My Letterman Reaction

It is another great day to be alive! I hope this week has gone smoothly for all of you. Thursday is here again and that means it is time for the latest rundown. Here we go…

Carty Developments – I definitely have some new information on the Sean Carty appeal process to share with you. Dr. Rockefeller excused himself from hearing Coach Carty’s case because the two men developed a personal relationship over the years. An assistant superintendent stepped in instead. I have been told that the allegations hastily leveled against Carty from a small group of parents have been completely discredited. The ruling body will not even consider the silly complaints lodged by these people. Instead, if the contract non-renewal is upheld, it will be solely on the belief of the district that the Mead football program needs to go in a new direction.

Of course many people will probably be upset about this. You see, an investigation was conducted as a result of these allegations. District time and resources went into this examination. In the end, it was all a complete waste. Although this is a major victory for Coach Carty, his football job still hangs in the balance. If the assistant superintendent feels that Carty’s overall winning record, GSL championships, and model way of developing young men is not enough, he will take his case to the final level…the school board. Coach Carty will know his fate very soon, perhaps tonight. If we aren’t celebrating his reinstatement, I will make an edit underneath this paragraph encouraging any supporters to e-mail the school board in a show of support for Sean. Stay tuned.

Scroll down to the very end of my blog post to see a very elegant comment left just today that a former blogger on the prep scene left regarding Coach Carty and parents. It is very telling.

********BREAKING: Sean Carty is once again the head football coach of the Mead Panthers. He was reinstated a couple hours ago. Coach Carty would like all of his supporters to know how thankful he is for the role this community played in fighting for what was right. Click here for Carty reaction and my final reflections on the whole ordeal. Congrats to Sean and his family.**********

Letterman Finale – When it comes to show finales, they can be hit or miss. In my opinion, David Letterman hit a grand slam with last night’s final episode of the “Late Show.” I thought his opening monologue set the tone and that his reflection/thank you session was satisfying. However, my two favorite moments came with the top ten list and the ending montage. It was a lot of fun watching the major celebrities walk out one-by-one to reveal the contents of the list. It kept me guessing on who would walk out of the curtain next but mostly I was fixated on what the next item on the list was going to be! Dave going down the line to shake hands with each person before the commercial break was priceless.

When the show ended with that collection of photos while the Foo Fighters played “Everlong,” I felt everything came together. Even though each image appeared on screen for about a tenth of a second, every one seemed to register with me. It really explained the significance and scope of the “Late Show.” An icon left the airwaves last night.

Residence Hall Reveal – When the academic year comes to a conclusion, strong content for social media can sometimes be hard to find. Not this week. Over the next 14 months, we will have four new residence halls opening up on campus (yes, our university is growing like crazy). We wanted to make a splash introducing these new buildings to the community. Deciding to give each new residence hall its own turn in the sun, I showcased each one on a separate day this week. Making sure to reveal each one in a special way across our main social media outlets, our audience loved learning the names of the new halls and viewing the slick renderings of each building. Tomorrow the #CCUResHallReveal will culminate with a video giving the viewer a hard hat tour of all four structures.

Renderings of all four of our new residence halls. They are named Chanticleer Hall, Tradition Hall, CINO Hall, and Teal Hall.

Renderings of all four of our new residence halls. They are named Chanticleer Hall, Tradition Hall, CINO Hall, and Teal Hall.

NBA Conference Finals – I am not straddling the fence when it comes to who I want to see come out of their respective conference finals. I am hoping for an Atlanta Hawks vs. Golden State Warriors championship. I just can’t bring myself to cheer for Lebron and the Cavs…no way. When it comes to the Western Conference, I am cheering for a team instead of against one. I really want to see Steve Kerr and Stephen Curry make it to the NBA Finals. Watching the Warriors make it to the grand stage would be refreshing and fun. Once the championship is set, I will be sure to fill you in on who I want to see hoisting the trophy at the end.

Bikefest – In Myrtle Beach there is a major event called Bikefest. Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts converge on our area every Memorial Day weekend. The city becomes swamped and getting around is very difficult. Last year the event was marred by several shootings and deaths. It caused a colossal outrage in the community and the planning to clean up the event pretty much started the Tuesday after Memorial Day. I kid you not, the efforts to make sure this year’s event is not a repeat of 2014 have been chronicled on the front page of our local newspaper pretty much every single day since last May. Law enforcement from all over the state will be aiding our local police officers to make sure the weekend goes off without a hitch. To say Bikefest is a complex issue is an understatement. There is a big racial element that causes a great divide and many misunderstandings between groups. My only hope is that we will have a very harmonious next three days here in Myrtle Beach.

Bikers take over Myrtle Beach during Bikefest. (Photo courtesy of the Sun News).

Bikers take over Myrtle Beach during Bikefest. (Photo courtesy of the Sun News).

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On that Bikefest note, have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. I will keep you updated on the Sean Carty situation. As always, I am very thankful to all my readers for taking the time to read my ramblings. You all are the real MVPs. Don’t Blink.

As promised, here is a comment that was left today on my initial blog post about the happening at Mead High School:

Comment from blogger

Coach Carty Update, Teal Turf, And More

I never suffered from allergies until I moved to South Carolina. For whatever reason, the pollen here has me feeling all types of miserable. But you know what?! It is Thursday, and some minor discomfort won’t stop me from delivering my weekly rundown. Here we go…

Coach Carty Update: On Tuesday night I wrote about the way my high school football coach, Sean Carty, helped make me the man I am today. The post came on the heels of an announcement that his contract would not be renewed. The response was remarkable*. From players who graduated from his program 12 years ago to students currently enrolled at Mead, person after person stood up to thank and recognize Coach Carty. This support was enough to overwhelm me, I can’t imagine how Carty himself felt. Over the past couple days I have learned many disturbing tactics that a small group of parents carried out. However, instead of wasting space on them, I rather just focus on Coach. I encourage you to write the Mead School District Superindentent and voice your support for Sean Carty. I never do calls to action on my blog but this is a very special circumstance for a very deserving person. You can e-mail Dr. Rockefeller by clicking here.

Roll Out That Turf!: Today on our campus at Coastal Carolina University, workers from a company called Medallion Athletics started to roll out our long awaited teal turf. Revealing the bronze end zone first, the teal portion of the surface started to get installed soon thereafter. It will take about four days for the whole field to be laid out. Next will come the stiching of logos, hash marks, and other field elements. This project screams “Coastal Carolina Chanticleers” and I can’t wait to see the finished product. Next Thursday I will be sure to have an update for you on the field’s progress.

How cool does Brooks Stadium look?

How cool does Brooks Stadium look?

Out For Lunch: Did you know that teachers enjoy Spring Break as much as students? With Sidney away from her second graders for a whole week, we had the opportunity to go to lunch a couple times. Throw in a birthday lunch for one of our student-workers here in University Communication and I ate my noon meal at three different restaurants. You got to understand, for a guy who is used to eating a peanut butter sandwich every single day this is quite the shift to my dining schedule. On Monday, Sidney and I went to Moe’s, a mission burrito joint. Yesterday I went with our office to a place in downtown Conway called Dilly Beans where I indulged in a pot roast sandwich. Then today I went with Sidney to Rotelli’s, an Italian restaurant right next to campus. I had the “World Famous Lunch,” an $8 meal that consists of a cup of soup, slice of pizza, and a half sandwich. Although I don’t want to make these mid-day excursions a habit, it has been nice indulging in a few quality lunches this week.

Sid at Rotelli's today and my pot roast sandwich from Dilly Beans.

Sid at Rotelli’s today and my pot roast sandwich from Dilly Beans.

What I Watched: On Sunday night I watched “Foxcatcher,” the award-winning wrestling movie. I was not overly excited to watch the film but ended up enjoying it. I absolutely loved the character of David Schultz and how he was portrayed by Mark Ruffalo. Steve Carell also did a superb job of depicting the creepy/insane millionaire John du Pont. The movie is not for everyone though as Sidney did not care for it. If you don’t mind whether a movie has a major plot and you like great acting, you might be entertained by “Foxcatcher.”

Talking about a whole different genre, I watched about half of the Comedy Central Justin Bieber Roast a few nights ago. It was funny, but it wasn’t hilarious enough for me to continue watching it. Although I didn’t know her before the roast, I laughed when Natasha Legerro took the podium. I found Shaq’s presentation a little lame. Ludacris was okay. I personally thought the jokes about Kevin Hart were funnier than the ones about Bieber. I went to bed before either Snoop Dogg or Martha Stewart could “roast.”

Congrats, Guff: To end tonight’s rundown, I want to warmly congratulate Dave Guffey on his College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Lifetime Achievement award. When I worked at Montana, Dave was a great mentor to me as we worked right next door to each other. He has served the Griz for 37 years and will be extremely missed. I encourage you to read the article about his award because it is really well-written.

Congratulations, Dave!

Congratulations, Dave!

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I want to wish everyone a very happy Easter. It is my favorite holiday and I hope it brightens your whole outlook on life like it does mine. Thanks again for your loyal readership, it means a lot. Don’t Blink.

* – In the first few hours of writing the Coach Carty blog post, it had over 1,600 views. As of right now, it has been viewed over 5,000 times.

Feeling Bad for Coach Carty

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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.

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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.

It has been ten years since I played for Sean Carty. During this span, the only time I actually had the chance to speak with him was after a football game in Missoula one year ago.

It has been ten years since I played for Sean Carty. During this span, the only time I actually had the chance to speak with him was after a football game in Missoula one year ago.

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.

This rock that I am standing next to (excuse the hair) plays a large part in the legacy of Sean Carty. Read on to find out how.

This rock that I am standing next to (excuse the hair) plays a large part in the legacy of Sean Carty. Read on to find out how.

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.

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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.