Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dunwoody High School fires its first-year football coach

Dunwoody High School Principal, Dr. Kevin Harris was captain of the Kent State University football team in 1992, and in 1993, Dr. Harris was a free agent for the NFL Denver Broncos.

 Prep Zone: AJC High School Sports - Dunwoody High’s Michael Youngblood was fired as head football coach on Thursday. “Mr. Youngblood is no longer the coach, that is correct,” DeKalb County Schools spokesman Dale Davis said.

When asked for the official reason, Davis said, “We decided to go in a different direction.”
Youngblood was still in a state of disbelief on Thursday evening. Dunwoody was his first head coaching job, and he led the Wildcats to a 7-5 record and appearance in the state playoffs this past season. He was informed of the news by Dunwoody principal Kevin Harris.

“When I asked (Harris) ‘What were the grounds for my removal?’ He said the things that they are going to say when the principal and football coach don’t see eye to eye … that they ‘are going to move in a different direction’ and not really give you an answer,” Youngblood said.

Youngblood speculated that his firing was related to an incident between the two men at at halftime of Dunwoody’s homecoming game against Cedar Grove on Sept. 25. Harris entered the team’s locker room and directed several players to leave the team meeting to participate in the halftime activities.

“It was a close game, and I had no idea (in advance) that some of our key players were going to be pulled out of the meeting,” Youngblood said. “I told (Harris), ‘No, please don’t do that.’ Then we went outside and talked about it. The football players ended up being in the halftime activities.”

“(But) I think he interpreted the entire situation as me trying to show him up in front the kids and other coaches.”
The following Monday, Youngblood says he was written up for “insubordination” by the principal, and Youngblood responded with a letter of rebuttal, explaining that “everything said in the report was not true.” Youngblood later apologized to Harris, hoping to ease the tension.

“However, from that moment on, I knew that things weren’t how they were supposed to be,” Youngblood said. “Every day, I had to look over my back, while also doing a good job on the football field.”
“The bottom line is that (Harris) never forgave me for that (halftime) incident.”

Youngblood, 30, was assistant head coach for Tucker High’s 2009 state championship team, and was Chattahoochee High’s defensive coordinator the previous two years.


Steve Barton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Heneghan said...

I had it somewhere Steve but will let your bio rule the day since I can't confirm my source. Thanks.

Steve Barton said...

Hmmm, going to confirm or deny what I wrote...wait, out.

Steve Barton said...

John, you have the best bet on his bio info now, just got confirmation that the UGA Kevin Harris of 1985 is not him. Sorry for the confusion.

John Heneghan said...

Ok, Steve I returned the football credentials as originally stated since I believe I originally got the information from Dr. Harris' bio when he was named Principal. Thanks.

GaryRayBetz said...

It's a shame this had to occur as both the principal and coach are good men. But it is just a game, and if priorities weren't askew in the world of high school and college sports wouldn't we have been more concerned if the school had lost a great science or math teacher?

Coaches will come and go, as we all have found out ourselves in our own perhaps less exhilarating careers. This terrific coach will find another position, and Dunwoody will find itself another sensational hire to fill the vacancy. And we go on...

"Long lives and short ones. All are tiny in eternity. Men must endure their going hence even as they are coming hither. Ripeness is all." from "King Lear"

Dunwoody Mom said...

I agree with Gary. While, I understand and appreciate the importance (my child does participate in athletics at DHS) of athletics at Dunwoody, is it not more important to ask whether a good teacher was lost?

Steve Barton said...

You may have noticed that there is only one side given on the AJC Prep Zone blog post.

I don't have any inside knowledge at all, but if you care to wade into the muck of an unmoderated blog comments section, you can fish out some other likely facts from the (current) 149 comments.

There are entries from folks that say they are DHS players and parents (and I believe almost all of them are, though what they say needs to be weighed), from many folks who just follow H.S. football and read the coach's side of the story, and from a number of those vile internet trolls who throw hammers around to stir folks up.

You can read 'em and (I think) you'll have more info; though you'll probably also be slightly depressed. Baseless internet mud-slinging does that.

Here are three worthwhile comments from folks not in the DHS community:

Jeff in Calhoun/Feb 4, 2010/11:18 pm

Hang in there coach! you will have another job soon. But, in the future I would not disobey the head man again.

George P Burdell/Feb 4, 2010/11:23 pm

Usually the way to move on is not throwing your former superior under the bus. Time has taught me that the truth always comes out. If Dr. Harris is the problem time will show it. You don’t need to get quoted in the paper to make it happen.

slalom1/Feb 5, 2010/5:11 pm

I know very little about Coach Youngblood and even less about Dr. Harris. However had Coach Youngblood won the hearts and minds of the parents of the players at DHS, there would be an outcry of protests. I have not seen that. If Coach Youngblood was so great, why are we not hearing more from the parents of the players?

That one from slalom1 is one of the last comments and sums up what is there. The (purported) players and football parents who have commented are looking forward to a new coach.


Open+Transparent said...

DeKalb fired another football coach midway through the season this year when the coach and principal had a minor, minor spat. Principals receive no training on how to manage an athletics program, and how to supervise coaches. I have seen a number of arrogant, overly confident DCSS principals who assume they are experts in athletcis, and nothing is further from the truth.

DCSS and the Dunwoody principal owe the players, parents and coach himself an honest explanation on why the coach was let go. Pettiness and vendettas are rampant in the DCSS school system, along with nepotism, wasteful spending, a lack of metrics and evaluation, etc. The county athletics director for DCSS could not be more unimpressive, and he has enabled a system where the county takes in almost all ahletics revenue, and it is filtered back to the various high school programs in a manner that to say the least is rife wih favoritism (Cross Keys is the stepchild of the system for athletics). The overall quality of facilities has a range of great to miserable. We can do so much better with high school athletics than what we have here in DeKalb. But as long as the presentation administration is in place, and more importantly, the attitude that a few know best, things like this firing will continue, and our student athletes will be the ones who suffer for it.

GaryRayBetz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dunwoody Mom said...

By law, DCSS and/or Dr. Harris cannot discuss nor disclose the reason for Coach Youngblood's dismissal.

themommy said...

O and T

I agree that the other situation was a travesty.

This, on the other hand, not so much. There is so much more to this story and Dr. Harris certainly can't tell his side of the story.

Again, though please note, there has been no outcry from parents or athletes. No one personally involved with the football program is upset about this.

Coach Youngblood is very young (thus the going to the AJC -- dumb, dumb career move) and he knows far more than he told the AJC.

I wish him much luck in the future.

GaryRayBetz said...

Wow! "Open+Transparent" those are quite bold accusations you have leveled at the DCSS and the honorable principal of Dunwoody High School. Isn't that a bit of an oxymoron to label yourself as "Open+Transparent" but not reveal who you are? Kind of akin to FoxNews branding themselves as "Fair & Balanced", isn't it?

I've had four children that have or are attending Dunwoody High School, all student-athletes, and three of which have or had the good fortune of having Dr. Kevin Harris as their principal. And we have always found Dr. Harris to be just what his title infers, a principled man of integrity and a more than capable administrator, with an emphasis on academics over athletics.

What more do want than that from a principal? We are blessed to have Dr. Harris as such an integral member of our community with the very critical responsibility of the care of so many of our children.

so_over_dcss said...

What I find interesting is that a competent teacher who has a run-in with the principal is summarily fired, but a teacher who is merely an awful teacher, and repeatedly shows up late (or not at all) "can't" be fired without reams of documented incidents and strict adherence to some undisclosed, plodding "process." And then when the principal is finally forced from on high to get rid of such a teacher, he/she is simply hoisted off on some other unsuspecting school in DeKalb County.

Ellen Fix said...

If it was the orchestra instructor who got fired, no one would care. But mention the word football, and, OMG, it's suddently VERY important. Move on! Anyway I kinda like Dr. Harris. He once responded to an emailed complaint about one of my daughter's teachers by calling me at home the same night.