HomeOpinionOPINION: South Side assistant coach can provide stability for football program

OPINION: South Side assistant coach can provide stability for football program

Tyler Reeder’s resignation at South Side High School last week leaves yet another void at the top of a football program in Madison County.

“Yet” is used in that sentence because there are seven high schools that field an 11-man football team in TSSAA play in the county, and South Side is the fourth program that will have a new coach this fall.

Being a part of Jackson-Madison County Schools, Superintendent Marlon King has shown the last couple years he’s not afraid to bring in a known name to lead JMCSS’ teams – Rick Rudesill, Tony Shutes, Andrew Hicks, Jenn Hicks, Kendall Dancy and Lonnie Starks are among the names that have gone out in JMCSS press releases and Superintendent Chronicles when the district announces new hires for coaches.

But this time it’s a bit different.

Hiring a basketball coach in the summer isn’t the same as hiring a football coach in the summer.

For instance, when the Hicks family returned to Jackson to lead the programs at Madison two years ago and arrived in July, they probably worked with their new players somewhat before school started and then had nearly three months after school started to get to know those athletes before preseason practice began in late October.

The next coach at South Side will probably be named in late June – and that’s if JMCSS gets aggressive in its coach search and making a hire. What happens the final week of June? The start of the TSSAA’s annual dead period, in which coaches can have no contact whatsoever with their athletes for two weeks.

So the players return from dead period to meet their new coach, and they have five or six weeks to get to know the coach, adapt to his style of coaching and hope that it all works out OK before opening the season at home against Ripley. And that’s not taking the fact the new coach might need to hire a couple of assistant coaches in the process because in addition to Reeder resigning from the school, Brent McNeal – the state championship-winning girls’ basketball coach who’s been offensive coordinator for the football program for more than a decade – also resigned coaching football so he could spend more time in the fall with his family before basketball season starts.

So what should JMCSS do?

No one asked me, but that’s never stopped me from giving an opinion before.

But maybe JMCSS doesn’t need to go for the Hail Mary for this hire. Maybe all they need is a halfback dive up the middle for quality yardage in a critical situation in the middle of the third quarter.

Bringing in a new coach is going to add needed prep time to the second half of the offseason.

But that prep time won’t be as large or as critical if the hire is someone already on campus.

It needs to be someone familiar with South Side High School and Hawk football.

It should be someone who’s shown he can motivate teenage athletes to perform at a high level and who’s not afraid to test those athletes in practice and in games.

It should be someone the players trust and will be willing to run through a wall for.

It should be Mason Taylor.

Taylor is a young guy who actually played at South Side for Reeder. He came home to South Side two years ago after starting his coaching career in Middle Tennessee then returning to West Tennessee by coaching at McNairy Central.

He took over the softball program this past year and had a quality season before falling in the region semifinals.

He knows the program inside and out and has an idea of what buttons to push with the players to motivate them to give maximum effort during preseason practices when it’s hot and late and they’re ready to stop.

Not even 30 years old yet, he’s not going to be the most experienced guy to apply for the job.

And maybe JMCSS doesn’t make him the permanent coach for now. They make him interim coach for six months, give him a chance to prove himself for a season and if the administration at the school and district level like what he brings to the fieldhouse, then they take “interim” off his job title.

Either way, it’s late in the offseason, and the continuity that scenario would provide for the team is what it needs even more than if Marlon King were to offer Alabama coach Nick Saban $10 million a year to coach the Hawks (that would be a fun budget meeting to cover if he were to ask the County Commission for those funds).

Some football programs like to keep coaching hires “in the family” more times than not. Sometimes those hires work and sometimes they don’t.

It’s worth a shot giving this young Hawk alum a chance to lead the upcoming generation of young Hawks.

Brandon Shields is the managing editor of The Jackson Post. Contact him at brandon@jacksonpost.news. Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or Instagram @Editorbrandon.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments