Transition: When one of yours takes over the program

  1. #1
    by ChiefSmoke is offline Premium Member
    ChiefSmoke's Avatar
    On April 2nd a tough transition began to take place. I resigned as the head football coach at Mason County HS after 19 great years. I am returning to be the head football coach at Mercer County Senior HS in Harrodsburg, KY, my hometown.

    There have been some emotional times. Great joy and memories from relationships and accomplisments that have stretched over 19 years. The joy of returning to your hometown to play a role in building a great program for the kids that are now in the shoes you filled 35 years ago. The sadness as you face separation from kids, coaches, and a community that has been more wonderful to you and your family than you could put into words.

    But, the part of this transition that has given me the most joy, satisfaction, and feeling that 19 years of hard work was well-invested and well-done, was when a former player of mine, and coach on our staff, Jonathan Thomas, was named the new head football coach at Mason County HS.

    Jonathan was a freshman on my first team here in 1996. He was a three year starter for us and was a senior on the first team to ever be ranked in the top ten in school history. He became very much like a son to me and still does to this day. He and I share many of the same values. He comes from a great family that has instilled those values. At a very young age, he understood what football could do for young people and that it all revolved around loving those kids and taking care of them…helping them to grow up into quality young men, husbands, and fathers.

    He had to work several jobs over a 6 year period to pay for college, but he made it and he got his teaching certificate. Nothing was handed to him. He had to work and earn everything he got. He is one of the best teachers in our district- what a great role model for our kids at the elementary school! He has also been an outstanding coach for us in our football program.

    When he was named our head football coach, it was one of the proudest days of my life. I stayed away from the press conference because it was his day and I didn’t want to draw any attention to myself. It had been an emotional transition, and I knew that would be emotional as well.

    When school was over that day, he came by my classroom. I was handing him some materials he needed as our new head coach. I held it together until I got to one box. In that box were 19 years of DVDs of Mason County football. I have known over the past year or so that my leaving was a possibility and I wanted all my guys to be able to come back and get their game and highlight video. When I gave Jonathan that box of video, that was when the floodgates opened. Here I was passing on to one of mine, 19 years of treasures for guys that I loved beyond words. It was tough and emotional. But, I was so glad that Jonathan was the guy I was handing the box to in that moment.

    Since that day, Jonathan has sent me a bunch of texts with questions. Many phone calls and emails as well. I love it. I am so glad I can help him. It means alot to me that he includes me and values what I have done and what I think. I am so glad the program is in GREAT hands. I am so glad that one of mine, one of ours, is running the show. This program and kids mean the world to him as it does to me. This has turned out great.

    Saturday morning I came into school to do some work. I got here around 10 am. Jonathan was in the football office working. He was there several hours. That got me fired up…. to be the head coach, you have to work when no one else knows it or is around. He understands that and he is giving these kids his best.

    As I move on to be a Titan, this experience with Jonathan has thrown gasoline on the fire for me. When I was growing up, we had two schools in our community. Now, the city and county schools have merged. The Hogs (Harrodsburg) & Dogs (Mercer) are now Titans. I am fired up that we are all on the same team now. I want ALL of the kids where I grew up to have a great experience playing Titan football.

    I am like Jonathan…. I am working to give back to the kids in my hometown! I am motivated by the picture I want to see at the end… to turn over the Titan program to one of my coaches or players that will love Titan football and love the kids in that community and program.

    In 1998, we were 1-6 and on the road. We had a FG blocked and the DB on the other team was off to the races. We had a big offensive tackle with a big heart give it everything he had. He ran down that DB from behind. They didn’t score. We won that game. After that play, our record over the next 5 years was 55-12, including a district title, two region titles, and two state semifinal appearances.

    That big offensive tackle was Jonathan Thomas. See…. he’s been taking care of his old coach for a long time. Nothing’s changed, just the roles are a little different. God Bless the Royals and the Titans!


    Name:  Jonathan.jpg
Views: 91
Size:  51.8 KB
    Last edited by ChiefSmoke; Apr 29, 15 at 03:17 PM.

  2. #2
    bugatti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 02
    You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a week or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime. - Mark Allen

    Very cool

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 09

    Hell of a read right there. First class.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Apr 15

    Excellent stuff, Coach!!!! Excellent. I'm happy for both of you guys!!!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 14

    It is great to see deserving assistants get a chance to take over a program that the love and put their own flavor in in.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 14
    My Old Kentucky Home

    Great stuff coach.

  7. #7
    4luvofthegame's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 11

    One of the best posts I have ever read. Great job coach and good luck to both of you.

  8. #8
    OLinePride's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 09
    Lewis County

    Well said Coach B. Not many coaches are as fortunate as you are to leave on your own terms and see one of your guys take over where you left off. It's safe to say that there are many coaches jealous of your the same time...they are especially happy that it is someone as deserving as you.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 01
    Ho ho ho 4 in a row

    Thanks Coach!
    Very inspiring and refreshing to get your point of view

  10. #10
    Jumper_Dad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 06
    To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible

    Best thing I've read on the internet in weeks, Great Job and Congrats!

  11. #11
    Mayfieldsportsfan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 03
    Pride and Tradition NEVER Graduate!

    Great read! Thanks and good luck!

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Oct 06
    The secret to basketball and life is "just to do the job to the best of your ability and don't worry about anything else."

    Wish you the best Coach! Always enjoyed reading your articles!

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Jul 14

    Awesome! Wish nothing but success for the both of you as head coaches.

  14. #14
    LRCW's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 02
    In God's hands

    Great post as always Coach. Congrats to you on your new job, and going home, and congrats to Coach Thomas and carrying on the great tradition you have established at Mason County.

  15. #15
    newarkcatholicfan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 00
    Buckeye Lake, Ohio

    Very cool.

    Good luck to both of you on your new journey.