Before you read this blog entry, I must tell you that I spent 31 years in one of the best professions in the world. I was a teacher. Working with kids at levels was fun. I spent the last 12 years at the junior high level. I understand unions, both the good and the bad. I understand administrations, both good and bad. I understand teachers, both the good and the bad ones. Finally, I understand teaching has changed, both good and bad.
Mansfield High School hosted a 7on7 competition today, and there may not be a collection of college talent at one site like there was today. Quality coaches. Registered officials. One turf, one grass field. Recruiting reporters all over. College recruits. Excellent quarterbacks. Teams: Mansfield Senior, Massillon, Trotwood Madison, Springfield, Glenville, Eastmoor, Akron Kenmore, and Westerville North.
Before I left I wanted to make sure that Mansfield Senior Head Coach Chioke Bradley knew how impressed I was with the whole deal. I told him that to put this 7on7 competition together must have a lot of work. To sell Trotwood and Springfield must have taken work. Central Ohio had two teams there. Registered officials were paid to work the game. All in all, a great way to sell high school football in the city of Mansfield.
I also told him how impressed with and proud of him in how he has developed the Mansfield program. Years ago they were a bad football program. No numbers. Not many athletes. Not many Black athletes. Not much discipline. Not much structure. As I said, not a real good program. The days of Stan Jefferson's successful teams were gone.
Coach Bradley played at Mansfield Senior. Received a scholarship to Bowling Green State University. Played with all of his ability and did well for the Falcons. Came home to Mansfield and, eventually, took over as head football coach at Mansfield. Hometown boy giving back to the community.
Coach Bradley worked hard on discipline and on fundamentals. More importantly, he worked on making the football program attractive enough to get students wanting to play. Last year, as a reward for his hard work, Mansfield Senior made the playoffs. For me, the Tygers now look, act, and play like a well coached football program.
After I paid him the compliments and patted him on the back, I asked me to do one thing. "Tell my superintendent what you just said." Why? The school superintendent told him in April that his job was eliminated. Not football, but his job within the system.
I do not know anything other than his position was eliminated. Obviously, I will not make time to research the situation. Nor is it any of my business. This is not the first school to do this, nor will it be the last. I understand the financial problems with school systems. I understand unions and "last in, first out."
Finding quality people to coach young people is hard. Too many hoops to jump through. Too much time. No teaching openings. Finding African Americans who can or will come back and work with inner city sports is really hard. I have watched the inner system for over twenty five years.
Good, young role model Blacks are coming back to coach inner city. I applaud them.
Are we really concerned about what is best for young African American students? We have inner city coaches who are willing to do what it takes. Is there a way to make it work? Watching inner city sports for many years, I kind of "get it." But I drive to a home south of Upper Sandusky. I leave the inner city. Mansfield is not inner city, I know.
As I said earlier, I do not know the Chioke Bradley story, but I know he works well with kids, instills discipline, and understands football. He works hard to promote his players to college coaches. Somewhere in educating young people, I wish there was a way to keep the "Chioke Bradley's" working with young people.