The minority rules in opening of Weaver’s position
Majority rules. That is what the history books and many laws state, anyway.
That is the American way. It is a principle the country was founded upon.
But it means nothing when the subject is high school athletics. Here, the minority, no matter how small, often carries the day. It happens year after year and it happened again.
This time, Montgomery coaching legend Craig Weaver Sr. was the victim.
Weaver’s varsity softball coaching position was “opened up” at Tuesday’s School Board meeting. That is code for he was let go, but gutless boards like to use the “opening up” term to make it seem less painful before hiding behind “personnel” issues when asked for an explanation.
Weaver’s position was opened up despite big-time support from current and past players and parents. Fourteen players recently were interviewed concerning allegations that Weaver “bullied” players. Only two spoke out against Weaver.
On what planet does a 1/7 ratio constitute letting someone go? If that is enough to get rid of a coach schools and teams across the country better start firing their coaches because no matter the team, someone always is not going to like the coach.
No coach, no boss, no employee is going to have universal support. That is the way of the world. Even in rigged elections, nobody gets 100 percent of the vote.
The bottom line here is that most Montgomery players did and still do support and like Weaver. Weaver had overwhelming support at the board meeting and past players drove far and wide to stand up for the man many view as more than a coach. So many more have expressed their displeasure about what happened on various social media outlets.
And despite the majority of the current players and so many past players from various sports saying such positive things about him, Weaver was let go. The minority won again.
Weaver is an old-school coach. He is tough and demanding. That is far from being a bully. He also always has been there for his players on and off the field. Past students who did not even play sports have spoken highly about his positive impact on their lives.
Some do not like how Weaver coaches. They think he is too tough on the players. Never mind that so many who have played and do play for him love that about Weaver. That is what helps them grow as athletes and people.
Sports are not easy and neither is life. Sports provide life lessons and Weaver driving his players helps them when they get older and start navigating the professional world. He pushes them to work as hard as possible and if they apply that work ethic and determined attitude past graduation, his players can do and have done great things.
I played baseball and football for a coach at Garnet Valley High School, Mike Ricci, who makes Weaver seem like a teddy bear at times. He was the toughest coach I ever played for and he pushed us to limits we did not think we could reach.
He also was the best coach I ever had and, outside of my father, my favorite all-time coach. Ricci was hard on us and – gasp – yelled at us and – double gasp – sometimes even criticized us. Never once did any of us think that meant he was a bully. Ricci was hard on us because he wanted what was best for us and the team. He stressed how we all were extensions of one another.
This is not AYSO or Little League, folks. If you make a commitment to play high school sports, one better be ready to pay the price for glory. It is not all fun and games and coaches have to use different methods to motivate players.
Life was not always easy at Garnet Valley, but we knew coach Ricci would do anything for us. Lessons I learned playing for this demanding coach I carry to this day.
What is happening to coaches like Weaver is ridiculous. If anyone raises his or her voice, or questions what an athlete is doing, that coach suddenly is a bully and a bad guy. I hear it all the time while covering games. No matter what these coaches do, someone always is upset, some always is criticizing, someone else always knows what is best.
And more and more, year after year, school boards cater to those people. More and more I wonder why coaches even want to keep going anymore.
Are parents going to try to get their kids’ bosses fired when their post-graduate jobs get tough? Are school boards going to try and interfere and try opening college professors jobs if they demand a lot from these future students?
School boards are doing their students no favors by repeatedly letting good coaches go. They are just feeding the beast. Each time this happens, a parent or anyone with an ax to grind feels more emboldened to try and get a coach fired.
This time they let the best softball coach in Montgomery history go. Weaver led Montgomery to its first-ever playoff berth in 2004, its first state tournament appearance, its first district championship and its first state final appearance. This past spring, he took a team with no seniors and two juniors and helped it rally from a 3-7 start to reach districts for a 10th straight year.
He coaches many of those same girls in tennis and basketball, jobs he still holds. So Weaver is good enough to coach those sports, but not softball? Just like the decision itself, that makes no sense.
When school boards intervene in sports and coaching little ever does make sense. They so often refuse to listen to the majority and instead cater to a select group. The road has been littered over the last decade with outstanding coaches and role models like Weaver who have been let go.
The madness must stop. If Weaver is not good enough to coach who is?
Let the board members and critics coach the teams from now on. They are the experts anyway.
Just ask them.
Masse may be reached at email@example.com.