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Simmons Says - Does winning matter?

When Warren County has a coaching change, I have a generic list of questions I know I’m going to ask. What’s your experience? Why did you apply? How did you react when you got the news the job was yours? It’s a recital of run-of-the-mill questions to give everybody an idea of newest Pioneer or Lady Pioneer leader.

After the interview is over and the mics are off, I usually leave the new coach with the wisdom I’ve gained over 10 years of dealing in local sports. I tell them all the same thing – “I’m still waiting for the first coach to be fired because of wins and losses. Just play the game well.”

I was reminded of that Tuesday when I saw WCMS had posted its 7-8 grade girls coaching position.

The powers that be decided Tara Koran wasn’t the right fit for the program, starting a search for another coach to take the reins of the Lady Pioneers. This comes after Koran recently completed her third year at WCMS – and her most successful.

Koran took over a program which struggled to get to five wins in 2017. In her first year, the Lady Pioneers were 8-14. The next season, Warren County won nine games. By her third year, the Lady Pioneers were 17-10 and tied for second place in the CTC season with an 11-3 record.

To put that in perspective, the Lady Pioneers were 4-10 in CTC play in the 2013-14 season. I picked 2014 because two months after that season ended, the WCMS girls coach at the time – Shea Panter – was hired to be the new high school coach.

So 4-10 got a promotion and 11-3 got shown the door.

This isn’t anything new in girls basketball since I took over the sports desk in 2010.

The lone winning season for WCHS in my time – and also dating back to the 1990s – was 2014 when Erick Baird led the Lady Pioneers to a 17-15 mark. He was sent packing after the season.

Back in the day, Shawnda Ramsey led a sixth-grade team at WCMS to a regular-season co-championship. She wasn’t brought back the next year. 

It’s really nothing new, so I wasn’t shocked to see Koran was the latest to fall victim to her own success. Winning rarely is as important as keeping parents and principals happy, being calm and courteous on the sidelines and not rocking the boat in any way.

This is why I try to share words of wisdom when they’re hired. It’s too late when the ax falls.