|For the past five or six years, I have made it a point of emphasis on my website, murphyfair.com, to keep up with high school football coaching changes across our state.
I noticed a few years ago that coaches seemed to be moving around a lot more often than they had in previous years and I thought tracking these chances would be of interest to people who visit my website.
So in 2007, the tracking began.
In that first year, I found that just more than 50 head coaching positions changed.
It seemed like a large number, but since I had nothing to compare it to, I really had no way of knowing whether that number was high or low.
In 2008 and 2009, the numbers continued to rise.
The trend continued in 2010 when nearly 60 coaching changes took place across the state. But there was really no reason to panic or show concern – right?
Last year, however, the number of high school football coaching changes in our state surpassed 60 for the first time.
In all, there were 63 head coaching changes that took place in 2011. That's 63 out of 333 schools – nearly 19 percent.
I couldn't believe it.
Almost one in five high schools that compete under the TSSAA umbrella had hired a new head coach to lead their football program.
But numbers hit another new high this summer as we prepared for the start of the 2012 campaign.
At latest count, there are 65 changes in the books. And this number does not reflect a small handful of schools that have had to go through the hiring process more than once since the close of last year's football season.
In Stewart County, a new coach was hired just before the end of the 2011-2012 school year, only to be arrested on DUI charges. Upon his immediate dismissal, officials in Dover had to hurry and find another new head coach less than a month before the start of fall camp.
In Nashville, former MTSU player Aaron Pitts had taken the Stratford job but switched gears a few weeks later and is now the new head coach at Marshall County.
The game of musical chairs that high school football coaches are playing these days is a concern among principals and athletic directors all over the state. I've written in the past about how overall numbers are falling in the high school coaching ranks.
Fans and administrators both want winning programs at their schools.
But few are willing or able to create the class load, the number of necessary assistant coaches or coaching supplements necessary for a good coach to produce those winning programs.
Until these decision makers realize the hours needed to produce such programs, this alarming trend of coaching changes is only going to get worse.
Murphy Fair has published TENNESSEE HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL for 25 years.
His website (murphyfair.com) gives high school fans further insight into the prep football scene.