Once the coaching carousel cranks up in Warren County, it has a hard time stopping.
The past work week began with WCHS naming Matt Turner the new football coach and ended with Shea Panter turning in her resignation after five years with Lady Pioneer basketball. Five years ago, the same jobs opened up after the resignation of Tommy Johnson and firing of Erick Baird. That year, the WCHS boys basketball team also lost John Dillard.
Barring something major, Chris Sullens will be back this fall.
It only seems right that Panter and Baird seem bonded at their exit points. Their tenures, both five years, will always be forever linked for a lot of people locally.
There are many Lady Pioneer fans who, to this day, are still bothered by how Baird was removed. Though I’m at games as a reporter, not a fan, I will add that I’m in the group of thinking Baird’s ousting was an odd choice.
After all, in Baird’s final season (2013-14) the Lady Pioneers finished with their first winning record (17-15) in two decades. The year before he took over, Warren County was 4-22 and failed to win a district game.
It seemed to be a dangerous precedent to set, other than the fact the school system has rarely applied wins and losses as reasoning for making coaching changes. Otherwise, Friday’s resignation would’ve been termed the same as when Baird left - a non renewal of a contract.
The tale of the tape skews to the former coach in a comparison of tenures.
Region bids: Two
District record: 12-38
Winning seasons: One
Top 6AAA finish: Second
Win change: Plus-13
Region bids: Two
District record: 8-46
Winning seasons: Zero
Top 6AAA finish: Fourth
Win change: Minus-8
Win change refers to amount of wins in their final year compared to the year before they took over the program. Also, the district records include tournament games.
This was supposed to be the year Panter and the Lady Pioneers made the leap. The team was stocked with seniors, including the program’s first Division 1 signee in decades.
Instead, the Lady Pioneers struggled from the start. The team was .500 only once, at 1-1, and finished on an eight-game losing streak.
And now, much like when Baird was hired, the school will look for a coach who will be inheriting a team which didn’t win a district game.
That’s the thing about a carousel. It will spin, but when it stops, you may be right back where you started.