Emotions were running high at the Tallapoosa County Board of Education special-called meeting Thursday afternoon.
It was expected a decision would be made on who to hire for Dadeville’s new football coach, but there was obvious disappointment in the air when, after an executive session that lasted 2 ½ hours, superintendent Joe Windle announced there would not be a recommendation made for the football coach at this time.
Windle explained after the meeting although a majority was reached between two final candidates during the executive session, a recommendation could not be made because of conflicts with funding the new coach’s salary due to his certifications.
Just prior to the meeting’s adjournment, former Dadeville coach Philip Baker, who coached the Tigers from 1988 through 1999, expressed his displeasure.
“The people in Dadeville are so tired of what’s going on; you just wouldn’t believe it,” Baker told the board. “I promise you I’m not in here to try to force anybody to decide on anybody but a committee was assigned to tackle this task and come up with five people that are the best in our opinion.
“I’m just disappointed for the kids that are out there working right now, wanting to know what’s going on. What do we tell them? Do we say, ‘I have no idea’? You have people in other cities saying, ‘What’s wrong with y’all? Why can’t y’all name a coach?’”
The only response came from board president Carla Talton, who said, “We could not come to an agreement.”
After Baker spoke, former coach Richard White, who head coached Dadeville for the last 20 seasons, also was angered by the lack of recommendation. White was part of the committee Baker referenced and said he had written a letter to each of the board members explaining who he recommended.
“I have 31 years of experience walking those sidelines down there and that ought to count for something,” White told the board. “But what I’m telling you is this is how I feel right now. I feel like my 31 years down there were for nothing. I feel like I have been slapped in the face by the Tallapoosa County Board of Education. And I don’t like feeling like that because I love Dadeville High School and I want what’s best for Dadeville High School.”
After the meeting, Windle met privately with both Baker and White and explained the funding situation. According to Windle, the coach who was voted upon has certifications in only one class, which Dadeville does not currently have an opening for. Hence, a final recommendation could not be made until Windle can ensure a salary to offer the new potential coach.
“The board came to the recommendation for a coach but because of the particulars of the certification for the coach, we didn’t know how we would fund the position at the meeting,” Windle said. “Our next step is to look at foundation unit, which is state funding, and look at Title I, which is federal funding. We also want to look to see if we have a possible retirement or transfer coming up that we don’t know about that we could fund this coach’s particular certifications.”
White and Baker weren’t the only ones frustrated at Thursday’s meeting.
During the executive session, which included Windle, all five board members, newly named superintendent Ray Porter, Dadeville principal Chris Hand and Dadeville assistant principal Pam Holloway, things also got emotional, according to Windle. More than two hours into the executive session, board member Michael Carter left and did not return.
“Each board member had specific reasons for the person that they supported and it was an emotional meeting,” Windle said. “But in the end, it really came to a funding issue for the certification that the coach had to be recommended.”
Windle did not give a timeframe for when he hoped to have the funding issues resolved and when he could finally make a recommendation to the board, but he reiterated the importance of getting things done as quickly as possible. Despite the mounting frustration and disappointment, which includes for Windle himself, he remained positive.
“I would ask the community to be patient with the board and a recommendation for the coach,” Windle said. “We will solve the funding issue as quickly as we possibly can and I believe they will be satisfied with the hire once we determine the funding. I feel good that we will find the right fit and the right person and that there will be a quality coach here at Dadeville.”