knoxville news
knoxville news knoxville advertising entertainment knoxville obituaries rss linkedin twitter facebook contact smoky mountains knoxville legal notices knoxville classifieds travel knoxville sports business lifestyle knoxville daily sun

athletic support by eli cranor

Athletic Support: High school hot seat?

Dear Athletic Support:
I’ve always wondered how much pressure is applied to coaches based on wins or losses at the high school level. It certainly seems like some coaches are allowed multiple struggling seasons while others are asked to leave (to put it gently) rather quickly. As much as I’d like to believe that a team’s record comes secondary to more important measures like character building, team GPAs, player safety, and simply being a “players’ coach”, I can’t help but feel like that kind of thinking is in the past. The concept of winning at all costs (right or wrong) is not uncommon at the college and professional level, especially when large sums of money are involved. However, it seems like putting the fate of someone’s career in the hands of kids who can’t even vote yet is unfair to both the players and the coach. I get that no coach is going to like reading about his team’s loss in Saturday’s paper, but did little Johnny’s fumble on 4th and 1 really just cost a coach his livelihood? OK, that might be a little exaggerated but I’d love to know your thoughts on how this kind of pressure impacts a high school coach.

— Is It Hot In Here?

Dear Hot In Here: I was a head football coach for two seasons. During that time, my team went 1-19. Despite my horrible record, I never remember feeling “the heat.”

However, I think the answer to your question varies for every coach and every team. In my case, I was young. I inherited a struggling team. And for those two reasons alone, (most) people were willing to give me a little extra time before they broke out the pitchforks.

My guess is that perennial powerhouses would give a coach less time to get his program on track. Another thing to consider is that “winning” is relative.

For some schools, a .500 season would be groundbreaking. For others, it could mark the end of a coach’s career. Every community has different expectations, and whether a coach likes it or not, that’s the bar upon by he will be measured.

Of course things like GPA, character building, and service projects matter. Believe it or not, some administrators know (or care) very little about football. Sometimes these people are in leadership positions, and if they believe a coach is doing a good job based on his off-the-field merits, they’ll go to bat for him when the pitchforks come out.

In the end, a coach has to find a way to win. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles these days. Even if a coach is doing every other thing right, even if his players are the most well-mannered, best-behaved boys in the school — he’s still got to win or his days are numbered.

Problem is, a coach who’s really winning (I’m talking undefeated seasons, state championships) can basically get away with anything, and nobody will be calling for his job…

… until he starts to lose.

Outside of athletics, kids’ brains are also at risk. Who knows what sort of impact virtual learning will have on their cognition and critical thinking skills. In this regard, I offer one simple tool — a good book! And luckily, I know just the book for kids struggling with the shift to virtual learning:


books make brainz taste badOkay, you caught me… I’m the author of this book. It was published last week and awarded a #1 New Release ranking on Amazon. BMBTB deals directly with the same topic covered in this column, except in a much more lighthearted, kid-friendly way (zombie teachers and brain-munching screens!)

If you end up purchasing this book for your children or grandchildren, I only have one final suggestion — ask them to read it while standing up!

Eli Cranor's new book Books Make Brainz Taste Bad has just been released. ZOMBIES HATE BOOKS! Especially the zombie teachers at Haven Middle School. That's why they're using VR headsets to fry kids' brainz. Luckily, Dash Storey knows how to save his classmates from the zombie teachers—BOOKS! They make brainz taste bad!

"Eli Cranor has an almost unbeatable advantage. He can remember how it felt to think like a twelve-year-old and he can see the very same events like the adult he is. Don't try to resist this book!"
- Jack Butler, Pulitzer-Prize nominated author

Previous Athletic Support Columns:
Daughter rolls ankle: Time to walk it off?
College football cancelled but my son’s still playing
Shift to virtual learning causing lag in young athletes
What you look for, you will find
Back to school woes
Football guidelines a breeze compared to band
What to do if your season stalls
Left behind
Travel ball leads to constipation
Collegiate sports for fun or money?
No right answer
Sunburns not part of the game
Summertime soreness
Vulnerability is key in uncertain times
Sick of COVID-19
Racial tensions rise as sports gear up again
Silver lining for post pandemic sports
Wearing masks to practice
Coach disappears after season is cancelled
What happens to the team if a player gets COVID-19?
Will there be football in the fall?
With sports gone, son’s grades tanking
Lost without sports
Teddy bears and tessellations
Cornavirus? We’ve got games to play!
Girlfriend getting in the way
A parent’s role when sports are over
Talk to your grandkids, carefully
At what age should sports stop being fun?
What ever happened to going door to door?
Lack of respect for track
Should my son take supplements?
I need your help
Help! My daughter wants to play football
Transferring to a smaller school: the good, the bad, and the ugly
What’s that smell? It’s not as bad as you think
A break from school but not from sports
Should a coach pray with his team?
Coach tells player not to shoot
Do nice guys (and girls) really finish last?
Coach cancels post-season awards banquet
No cellphones in the locker room!
Fake scholarship signing?
Withholding football as punishment
Sick and tired of losing
Late bloomer, a blessing or a curse?
Scholarship hopes dead, now what?
Is my son a butterfly chaser?
Don’t force sports on your kids
Hunting or Football?
Beat the Heat
Idle Hands
Coach’s son gets special attention

Published September 5, 2020

knoxville daily sun Knoxville Daily Sun
2020 Image Builders
User Agreement | Privacy Policy