CHRIS MOORE — PNG board has great opportunity for open coaching situation response

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Port Neches-Groves faithful produce one of the best fan bases in the state. Season tickets get handed down through generations and are often more valuable than anything else in one’s will.

Fans not fortunate enough to have season tickets fall down the family tree have braved cold and rainy weather for a chance to see Mid County Madness. People greatly care about this school and this program.

Honor, Pride and Tradition — the district’s motto — requires everyone to join in and be a part of the community. The machine works best when all parts are moving in the same direction.

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That is not always possible with a community of different thoughts and ideas, but I have always respected the fact the district and the students seemed to be put first.

The school board wants the stands filled to the brim for football games with students and adults covered in purple. It makes for an experience one cannot find anywhere else in the state.

People in Port Neches and Groves care about high school football more than just about any other thing in the district. The only thing that stands above the football program is the community and the honor, pride and tradition.

Yet, internet rumors of Head Coach and Athletic Director Brandon Faircloth’s potential exit led message boards for the past six months. Rumors of tension between he and board members swirled, and by resigning to take a job elsewhere allowed board members to keep quiet publicly.

If Faircloth was forced out for legitimate reasons, the public should know why the winningest coach in the program’s history had to leave. If he was forced to leave for personal reasons by board members, those involved owe it to the public they serve to explain what happened.

The murkiness of the situation has built a potential level of distrust in how this saga played out.

Right now, and for the foreseeable future, rumors plaster social media pages and blogs. Actual leadership takes the reins in times of crisis and takes responsibility, providing answers to the public.

Concerned residents also have the option of showing up at the next school board meeting Feb. 14. Board members are no longer forbidden to talk about Faircloth’s performance because he is no longer part of the district’s personnel; however, in accordance with the Open Meetings Act, they are not obligated to respond to those that speak in public comment.

Still, anyone acting in the best interest of the district should have no problem explaining their respective positions.

This isn’t broken beyond repair, but it can get worse if clarification isn’t provided. I know this community would bounce back and have faith that honor, pride and tradition would prevail like it always has as long as those in power uphold and maintain the standard.

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