Adults should act like it

Published 12:20 am Sunday, December 7, 2008

It was just another quiet holiday week at Alcorn State University, right?

Nothing like a mass firing, a couple of lawyers and a boatload of rumors to kick off the holiday season.

The one theme that permeates the Alcorn State athletic department is that no one knows anything. Head football coach Ernest Jones says he didn’t know his assistant coaches — whom he hired by the way — had been fired by athletic director Darren Hamilton until he saw a report on the television news.

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At least some of the players don’t know anything either. On Tuesday, offensive lineman Romardo Thomas said he was just starting to build a rapport with his position coach and was going to miss him. Well, he has more time to build that rapport because his position coach, Adam Shorter, was one of the two assistants who didn’t receive the ax.

The players haven’t had a team meeting to discuss the situation, and they seem to be out of the loop. Of course it probably would be hard for the head coach to have a team meeting when he’s retained two lawyers who are most likely telling him not to say anything.

For his part, Hamilton isn’t saying why he fired seven assistant football coaches just one year after they were hired. The athletic director will only say that he evaluates every aspect of the program, both on and off the field, and the coaches who were fired apparently didn’t measure up.

All the secrecy and confusion has led to some amazing rumors that are going around. Alcorn fans don’t know what to think and some outlandish stories are popping up in the wake of the firings.

The whole thing is just silly and could have easily been avoided if Hamilton and Jones would just act like men and talk it out.

Jones hired his assistant coaches, and he should be the one to fire them. If the athletic director doesn’t like what he sees in the football program, he and the head coach should sit down and talk it out. If, after the talk, the AD still thinks the assistants need to be fired, he should instruct the head coach to do it. If the head coach doesn’t want to do it, then fire him. It’s so simple.

Here’s what you don’t do if you’re the athletic director. You don’t unilaterally fire the assistant coaches without notifying the head coach in advance.

Here’s what you don’t do if you’re the head coach. You don’t hire two lawyers and then threaten legal action, especially when it doesn’t appear you have a case.

Jones and Hamilton need to communicate with each other and with the football players to minimize the damage that has already been caused by this fiasco. It’s the least they could do.

Jeff Edwards is the sports editor of The Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3632 or