A call for patience and a call for stability

Nowlin out at South Lafourche
November 9, 2016
Suspect arrested in murder of 64-year-old Galliano man
November 12, 2016
Nowlin out at South Lafourche
November 9, 2016
Suspect arrested in murder of 64-year-old Galliano man
November 12, 2016

In my job as a reporter, I’m instructed to report news honestly, objectively and without bias.

I am supposed to paint situations as they are without slant. I am supposed to give the facts to you all, and your role is to then take those facts, decipher them and formulate your own thoughts and opinions based on the information presented.

It’s a job that’s easy 99.9 percent of the time. Most situations are black and white and are cut and dry.

But some aren’t.

In this job, some situations require me to go outside of that “journalist” mode and force me to see situations as a human being and a member of this community – a family member, a friend, a youth sports coach and a member of clubs and other community functions.

One of those situations occurred this past week when South Lafourche High School decided to replace Brandon Nowlin as its head football coach – a shocking move, given that Nowlin was hired this past spring for the post.

Let me start out by saying that I love South Lafourche High School.

I’m a journalist, and I strive to never show favoritism to one place over another, but guys, it’s impossible for me to not bleed blue.

Put yourself in my shoes. I graduated there.

I live in that community.

The athletic teams they field are coached by people who are my close friends. The players on the field are often my relatives or young men or women whom I coached myself.

I would be lying to every, single one of you right now if I told you that the school was indifferent to me, because it’s not.

I love that place, and I love the people there.

I’m sorry if that offends anyone at any other school, but I always will feel that way for the Big Blue.

I’m a reporter, but I’m not a robot. I’m a human, and as a human, I have a heart, and inside of it is a lot of support, loyalty and trust for people who I’ve shared memories and experiences with throughout my 29 years of life.

One of those people is Brandon Nowlin.

I’ve known Coach Nowlin since 2010 – the year he abruptly took over the Morgan City program just days before the season began.

I’ve always liked the guy – a lot.

The first day I met him, he told me he had 10 minutes to spare.

Those 10 minutes turned into 90 minutes.

And those 90 minutes turned into a friendship that’s lasted ever since.

Since those days, Coach and I have kept a mutual respect for one another, and I can honestly say he’s one of my closest friends.

When Dennis Skains left South Lafourche High School, I took the time out of my schedule and called Coach Nowlin and told him the job was open.

He was at Livonia at the time.

While going through the process, I helped him get in contact with the school officials he needed to contact.

When he was hired, I was genuinely excited and happy for him and his family.

During the season, he and I hosted a radio show together. When the show ended, we’d kick back and pass a good time – often until the waitresses were mopping the floors and closing the doors.

After the news got out of his dismissal, I was one of the first people Coach Nowlin called.

I was disappointed.

We both were.

We both felt like he was the right man for the Tarpons job.

For the record, I still feel that way.

A lot of his players do, too. Just look on Facebook or Twitter at the posts. They are not happy that their ball coach was not invited back for a second season.

So for all of the reasons I’ve just stated, the past week has been an awfully difficult one for me, as I’ve been tasked with the job of juggling all of these moving parts.

I have tons of opinions about the situations, and I know a lot of the factors that went into principal Gaye Cheramie’s decision. I know all of the rumors and the innuendo. When you live anywhere from Larose to Golden Meadow, you can never avoid that stuff. Everyone in our community knows everything about everyone else.

But those are not for me to display in this setting.

Instead, I want to urge my alma mater to use this situation to take a good, long look at itself and to strongly evaluate itself and its vision for both the present and the future.

With Nowlin out of the picture, South Lafourche will open 2017 with a first-year coach for the second-straight season.

When the hire is made, the new coach will be the seventh headman the program will have had in 14 years.

By my math, that means coaches only have a shelf life of a couple years in Galliano.

By my math, that means something is terribly, terribly wrong, and the problems run deeper than the football field house and may even bleed outside of the building and into other facets of the school and community.

Things just simply do not add up.

Why is it that coaches enter the program, but don’t stay – even when having on-field success?

Why is it that coaches are being dismissed after just a couple of seasons on the job – without the opportunity to build the ship properly and guide it in the proper direction?

Why is it that outgoing coaches leave the program and then move on to other places and win big?

Why is it that when hiring new coaches, school administrators agree one month that a man is right for the job, but then quickly sour and say they want a new direction just four or five months later?

There has to be a common factor or two – either internal or external – involved in all of these situations that is causing things to go sour.

There has to be better checks and balances in the hiring process to make sure that when getting a coach, he’s the guy who is going to be here for a decade.

There has to be a stronger emphasis on once a coach is hired, allowing him greater liberty to field his staff and run his program under his own terms so that he can be comfortable in the minds who are within his building.

There simply just has to be change in the process, because, quite frankly, how things are being done now isn’t working.

It can’t always be the head coach’s fault – especially not after you’ve now gone through six of them in the past 14 years.

Something else in the process has to be broken, too.

And it’s time the school digs deep, is honest with itself and finds where those problems lie.

Those kids deserve better than constant change. 

Brandon NowlinCOURTESY

Follow Casey on Twitter for more.