HIGHTOWER: How to Choose a Coach

Let's go to the Sports Desk [Sports Theme] ... for Hightower Radio's "Wide, Wide, Wide, WILD World of Sports."Today's feature ... How to Choose a High School Football Coach. In many parts of the country, schoolboy football is the chief topic of conversation, not just among students, but also down at the Chat & Chew Cafe, in the beauty parlors and even from the church pulpits, where many a minister, priest and rabbi have called on the Great Quarterback in the sky to guide the locals to victory over the infidels from a competing school.Picking a winning coach can be a bigger deal than choosing a top principal. Alumni, fans, parents and local boosters all get-in on the act, demanding that the superintendent and the school board bring them a proven winner. Nowhere are high-school football fans more zealous than they are in Texas, where the Friday night games outdraw the local elections, all church services and the annual chamber-of-commerce banquet combined.This is why the action of Superintendent Don Madden and the school board in Taft, Texas, is so surprising and commendable. Taft, a town of 4,000 folks on the Gulf Coast, had to choose a new coach, and the final selection was not made by team boosters or even the school board. Madden let the students choose.Ninety-eight applicants applied, and a selection committee narrowed the choice to three well-qualified finalists. These finalists were invited to speak to the student assembly about their approach to coaching ... and then the students voted."It's the kids' school," Superintendent Madden explains. "The most important thing we have going for us are these kids. The football team is a school activity. The public is welcome to come and watch the team play, but it's not run by the city."This is Jim Hightower, with the Chat & Chew regulars, saying ... Way to go Taft, Texas [Hip-hip-Hooray ... cheers]!Source:"Political Football: Taft students vote on the coach". Austin American-Statesman: February 19, 1997.

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