Magoffin County High School Principal Tony Skaggs told the Magoffin County School Board in Tuesday night’s meeting that all the 12 extracurricular sports are stable right now except for one: football.
Due to staffing cuts and the lack of volunteers this year, the Hornet football program has been decreased down to one certified coach: Coach Chester McCoy.
Practice opened on July 15 statewide and teams are required to practice for two week before contact, or tackling. After next week, the team is scheduled to start contact, but one coach cannot safely run a practice.
“Football is such a violent, dangerous sport that you have to have someone there that knows what they’re doing,” Skaggs said.
Unless another option is found, Skaggs said he will have no choice but to close the program. If Magoffin loses the football program, he said he worries the kids will leave to play for other districts, but there simply are no certified people in the school system.
Bare minimum, Skaggs said he needs at least two positions to keep the football program afloat.
“I understand what I’m asking for, but the high school is 100 percent different than elementary schools,” Skaggs said.
Herald Whitaker Middle School Principal Johnnie Johnson voiced similar concerns at the meeting, explaining the problem has a trickle-down effect.
Johnson said no one in the school system is working in the middle school football program and Coach Mark Campbell is the only certified coach they have. With a decrease in volunteers, the program is also on very shaky ground.
School board member Carl Howard asked the group, “How many would not graduate high school without the football program? We don’t need to lose one.”
Just last school year Magoffin County Schools produced four football scholarship recipients.
Campbell told the board that he believes the middle school would lose at least six students instantly to other districts, including his son, if the football program dissolves.
“Coach McCoy does need help. He is a man of character, he loves the kids but he needs the help,” Campbell said.
After contacting other school districts in eastern Kentucky, it is found they typically provide a minimum of three assistant coaching positions for people that are also teachers.
Meaning, any given high school would have the head coach and three assistant coaches working within the district full time. Those high school teams would then have additional paraprofessionals who would receive just a coaching stipend.