By J. Long
In Valdosta, Ga., a high school football coach learned that his contract won’t be renewed at the end of the school year. Story
Days after losing to rival Lowndes, Valdosta High coach Rick Tomberlin learned he would not be back. While I find it interesting that this sort of decision was made at the high school level, there’s another angle to the story that intrigues me more.
The story says that in south Georgia, revenue at football games often funds the rest of the of the schools’ athletic programs. The treasurer of the Valdosta Touchdown Club said that the team’s season ticket sales are down nearly 30 percent.
Never miss a local story.
Could it be that Tomberlin, also the athletic director, wasn’t turning the football team around fast enough and that other coaches were putting the pressure on to find somebody who could?
Valdosta is one of the most storied high school football teams in the state. They have a state record 24 football titles, but none since 1998. Lowndes, however, has won three titles in the last five seasons. And has become the big ticket in town.
Enrollment has even dropped at Valdosta. The story says that according to the Georgia High School Association, Valdosta has the second-smallest enrollment in Region 1-AAAAA.
I wonder if any of the other programs at Lowndes have gotten better all of a sudden?
This is funny to me because this makes me believe that the school officials are in panic-mode. They fired a coach with a career record of 219-100. The guy is turning things around, his his team is 18-11 after going 1-9 in his first season in 2006.
Not to mention, the team is projected to have 18 returning starters on next year’s group.
But I guess none of that matters.
Do you think it’s fair for the football team to have to share a majority of the money it brings in to help with minor sports?
Do you think that if Kapaun Mount Carmel or Bishop Carroll were put in the same situation, they would hit their coach with “What have you done for me lately?”