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COLUMN: Bearcat boys' soccer situation a puzzling one

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Hopefully kids can move forward with success

By John Herndon

Sometimes you just don't know what to believe.

And those times when you dig a little deeper for more information and things get even more confusing? You count to 10, or whatever number suits you, take a deep breath, then realize you really aren't any closer to knowing all the facts than you were when you got started.

Such is the recent turn of events involving the boys' soccer program at Anderson County High School.

Here's what we know for sure: Head coach Mike Brody, who had only been hired a short time before official fall practice started July 15, resigned his position last Monday. Anderson County school Superintendent Sheila Mitchell confirmed that to my Anderson News colleague Meaghan Downs last week.

The fact that he stepped down during the middle of the season in itself is enough to raise questions.

We also know that before he stepped aside, the Anderson team had compiled a 6-3-0 record against a schedule that was very similar to the ones the Bearcats played over the past several years. They had clinched the No. 2 seed in the 30th District Tournament with a 2-1 district record, the only loss being an overtime setback to Collins, a team that has since cracked the state's top 10.

For now, at least, that's about it.

Brody called The Anderson News office last Monday afternoon, advising that I should attend a special meeting of the Board of Education that night. Because of a prior commitment, I was not able to do so, but Downs attended and, after a closed session of the board, witnessed Brody turning in his keys and some equipment to Mitchell.

In the meantime, Downs contacted me by text message and I met Brody at The Anderson News office. He shared his side of the story, said some good things about the program and leveled some serious allegations as well.

In the end, Brody believed he did nothing wrong and said he was “crushed” and “heart-broken” over the turn of events.

I have only known him since early August and that has just been in a professional manner.

What I can say is that Brody, a paraprofessional who lives near Louisville, has been one of the best I have ever dealt – any sport – at supplying information to The Anderson News and getting back with me when I dropped him an e-mail.

I wish him nothing but the best.

However, I also know that I am not around any athletic team all the time.

I had heard rumblings of discontent around the Bearcat soccer program, almost from day one of Brody's tenure. They came from people I know and respect and have no reason to doubt either. In the interest of fairness, I contacted several close to the program to see if any could, or would, offer a viewpoint counter to the coach's.

Understandably, with an athletic team largely made up of minor children being the focus, none wanted to talk on the record. What I learned was off the record from people whom I have always felt were straight with me and I assured those who talked that what they said would remain off the record.

Suffice it to say the picture painted was vastly different than the one I had previously heard.

I will interject that I did not talk with anyone from the school system regarding the issue. They can't talk about personnel matters, other than to confirm the resignation, so why bother?

With little information that can be substantiated, we'll not visit the finger pointing. My personal journalistic standard and that of The Anderson News simply will not allow that. Obviously, if something comes to light that can be verified, we will take a look again.

In the meantime, the Bearcats – high school sports really are about the kids, you know – are getting ready for the final weeks of the soccer season. Coaching them are Khamisi Campbell, who was Brody's assistant, and former head coach Brett Morris, who returned to help the program when Brody stepped down.

Who is to blame for what all has happened with Anderson soccer over the past two months? The coach? The school administration? Supporters of the program? It really does depend on whom you ask.

My greatest hope is that the kids are able to put things behind them and be successful both in the near and long-range future.

In the end, that is what matters most.

 

Comment at www.theandersonnews.com.