CHRIS MOORE — Coach Brandon Faircloth has earned more time with PNG

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Last week, internet rumors regarding Port Neches-Groves Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Brandon Faircloth’s employment reached a fever pitch.

Bloggers spent the fall speculating how school board members felt about Faircloth’s tenure with the district.

The rumors seem largely baseless and appear contained to people who do not identify themselves or their sources. Those facts led us, or any media outlet for that matter, to report on the matter.

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But internet rumors are difficult to tame. I have had other coaches tell me that they have been asked about the PNG head coach.

However, the rumors reached the screens of the varsity football team, who then responded by showing up at the last school board meeting as a show of support for their coach.

Quarterback Cole Crippen spoke to the school board, putting his name and words behind support for Faircloth.

The quarterback mentioned how his coach led a team that was not predicted to make the playoffs to the third round.

There are two ways to judge the coach’s time in Port Neches.

The first is a critique that is cold and unemotional and just looks at productivity.

Since taking over in 2009 as the PNG head coach, Faircloth has made the playoffs all but one season. While he is 5-13 against Nederland during that span, he has won four out of the last six contests.

This year’s junior-heavy squad will return many players next year, especially in key positions. He also became the winningest coach in the program’s history and earned his 100th victory in the last game of the regular season, meaning he sits at 102 after the playoff games.

The 2022 Indians have a real chance to make a deep run because of the experience of this year.

Faircloth tends to get the most out of his players. He has a knack for retooling a game plan to fit his team’s strengths. In 2020’s first-round playoff matchup against Fort Bend Marshall, the coach played keep away and forced the Buffs to play their closest game to date. PNG entered the game as huge underdogs against a team with state title hopes. While PNG lost 21-14, Marshall went on to beat Nederland in the third round and make a deep playoff run.

Faircloth also has served as the athletic director as PNG has won a state title for baseball and has overseen a successful boy’s athletic program.

The other part of his evaluation is emotional. The connection he makes with his players and coaches is real. Just look at how his players showed up for him at a school board meeting because of the slight possibility that internet rumors are true.

If that is not enough, I can tell you first hand how often he checked in on my cousin Noah Jackson after his brain injury. Almost daily, Faircloth asked for updates and even made a trip with other coaches to see him in the hospital.

I often think we overvalue how much a coach wins on the field and undervalue off-field victories when it comes to high school athletics. Yes, state championships are awesome, but only one team in your class wins it each year. I am way more interested in how you are helping your players become productive members of society and from where I am sitting, Faircloth is undefeated.

Chris Moore is the sports editor for Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at chris.moore@panews.com.