Next choice big one for MHS
Dec. 12, 2001
Bill Sartin's exit at Meridian High School caught many by surprise.
It is not certain as to whether his team's poor season in 2001 had much to do with his decision, but you can't argue with a man's desire to do more for his family.
Whatever the reason for Sartin's decision, he made it. And now it is up to the powers-that-be at MHS to put their collective minds together and decide who will step in to lead the prestigious Wildcat football program.
The bulk of that load rests squarely on the shoulders of first-year MHS athletic director Billy Burnham.
I've known Burnham for years, so I have no doubt that he will take it seriously. He knows the importance of athletics to the school and certainly knows where the football program ranks as well. On Monday he said his hopes were to have a new coach in place by late winter or early spring.
While not giving specifics as to what he, MHS principal James Bounds and others are looking for, Burnham did say that proven leadership was important.
Some wondered out loud when Sartin stepped down, just how much interest would be shown in the job.
It didn't take long for that question to be answered.
The official notice and application process has not begun yet, but it won't be long before that takes place.
The Meridian High School head football job is a tough one. Expectations are high, but there is talent in the halls. The trick is to get them out of the halls and onto the field and then working together in one accord.
Fans expect the Wildcats not only to win more games than they lose and to make the playoffs each year, but also to contend for the state title.
Whoever takes the job should clearly understand the goals and what the expectations are.
Mac Barnes is an outstanding football coach and a great man, but I can remember the wolves howling at his door if the Cats didn't do as well as some thought they should.
It really is kind of like coaching at Alabama in football or Kentucky in basketball even if you win the title, you shouldn't have lost any games. And if you win them all, with the talent you have, you should have won by more.
The person who lands the job, needs to be able to have enough confidence in themselves and what they are doing to let that go in one ear and out the other.
And there is another important quality that the new head football coach at Meridian should have, and this is more important than any amount of knowledge about offenses and defenses.
He needs to have an ingrained desire to help young men who need direction become better people. That, perhaps, was and is Barnes' strongest trait. The new coach needs to be able to see through the tough exterior and into the heart and soul and to be a tough, strong leader, and a person who can inspire people to make a difference.
Yes, wins on the football field are important at Meridian High School. But so are wins in the classroom and in life after graduation.
I don't envy the job that Burnham and Bounds have before them, nor the one of the next head football coach at MHS.