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Chicago Sun-Times

The state of Waukegan High School football crossed over some metaphysical bizarro boundary last week.

We fear it went from badness to some level of embarrassing catastrophe.

That is terribly sad for the several dozen players, parents and fans devoted to Bulldog colors. Carping, factionalized adults drove the bus into the ditch, as is traditionally the case.

When the School Board voted 4-3 to reject Athletic Director Sam Taylor's proposal to hire Mark Morgan, the decision was not only a surprising slap at the two men. It also negated the intricate and burdensome rules for hiring head coaches that the school system itself had imposed in past years.

Nick Browder's resignation in June made it virtually impossible to present a vetted candidate before last week. And the tortuously convoluted process also meant that no candidate could even face a hiring vote until the season was barely a month away.

All this produced what the emotional crowd at the board meeting rightfully viewed as incompetence masquerading as sound process.

If Morgan is not to be the coach, then the principal likely will pick among 10 remaining assistant coaches to be "interim" coach for the year. There has been undercover lobbying for just such an outcome, which means that Morgan would have faced a mutinous supporting staff.

Morgan has taught at Waukegan for a decade but didn't coach. He's been serving as assistant coach at St. Viator in Arlington Heights. If that sounds odd, it is.

But the theory, stated by parents and board members, suggested that having only four weeks to prepare a "successful" season was not feasible, is myopic, too.

Unfortunately, few now part of the program know what's required for a successful high school season, because current seniors have never had one.

Hope is not a plan.

The school has not reached the state playoffs for 13 years, and the tenure of Browder produced records of 3-6, 3-6, 2-7, 2-7 before he escaped for a better job in Arizona.

Who can blame him?


July 29, 2014




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