Terminating Coach Clevenger leads DHS in wrong direction

Published 12:50 pm Tuesday, February 9, 2021

This letter is regarding the termination of Danville High School football coach Clay Clevenger.

When Coach Clevenger asked superintendent Tammy McDonald if there was reason for termination, her response was, “Not really, other then we feel we should go in another direction.” Go in another direction? Which direction? From a winning tradition to a losing one? Ridding the trophy cases of best in state? Isn’t wanting “…to head in another direction” simply a sorry cliché, an empty comment?

There are times we have to take new directions. Hopefully those decisions are of our own choosing. However, when an employer or supervisor makes that decision for us, we have to consider the source, don’t we? Who’s doing the defining? However, here is where it takes a significant turn because in education the direction affects not only the individual and family, but multitudes of children’s lives, as well as the future of communities.

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Enlightened leaders know to watch for patterns.

Coach Clevenger has a pattern:

• A DHS graduate who knows the community, families, and mettle of which both are made. His roots are embedded in community.

• A star athlete on two championship teams, he was inducted into the athletic Hall of Fame. When he teaches his classroom (the athletic field of competition), he knows of what he speaks and is a living example for players. He walked the same halls as a youth.

• He was an All-American in college, helping lead to a national championship. Thus, he understands what it takes to build successful programs.

Successful teams lead to more school pride and better school discipline, while uniting a community. Coach Clevenger’s pattern is winning with class.

Superintendent McDonald provides us a pattern as well. After being hired she:

• Purchased a building with the school system in dire financial straits.

• Terminated a successful coach rooted in the community with the flimsy cliché of “wanting to head in another direction.”

The superintendent and principal hire the coach, but the school board hires the superintendent. So, when is the school board going to hold her accountable and the public hold them accountable as well?

Yes, there seems a need for new direction. However, is it really the coach, or superintendent? Superintendent McDonald seems to forget that when she points, she has three fingers pointed right back at herself.

Randy Gip Graham