Article Comment 

New Hope baseball coach loses job


Adam Minichino



The tenure of one of Lowndes County’s most successful coaches apparently came to an end Friday morning. 


Lowndes County School District Superintendent Mike Halford recommended Friday at the Lowndes County school board meeting New Hope High School baseball coach Stacy Hester not be retained. 


Halford makes recommendations for retention or dismissal on all contracts. Given Hester’s job as New Hope High baseball coach is an at-will agreement, his employment can be terminated at any time. 


The issue of Hester’s job as New Hope High’s baseball coach appeared as a consent agenda item, one of several agreed on at the start of the meeting, which ended any possibility for discussion about Hester’s job as the school baseball coach. 


Halford said if any of the board members had an issue with Hester not being retained as New Hope High baseball coach they could have pulled the item from the consent agenda and there could have been an open vote. 


Instead, the board voted 5-0 to accept Halford’s recommendation. 


“The recommendation was made by Mike Halford,” Halford said after the meeting adjourned. “The board votes. Technically the board would not have to vote. That is something we have done. I want the individuals in Lowndes County to understand the decisions I make and the board makes and the charge they were given when they were elected was to do what was in the best interest of children.” 


Lowndes County School District Board President Dr. Robert Buckley said he hadn’t spoken to Hester in the three weeks since Hester said he was told by Halford that he would have to “fight for his job.” 


Buckley said there was “no deviousness” involved in the decision not to retain Hester. 


“Sometimes the right thing is not the most popular thing,” Buckley said of the decision. “We all try to serve the taxpayers and the parents of the kids (of Lowndes County).” 


Buckley said his decision not to speak to Hester is no different than any of the previous times he has voted not to retain a coach and opted not to talk to that individual.  


School board members Jane Kilgore, Bobby Barksdale, and Jacqueline Gray declined to comment about the decision not to retain Hester. 


School board member John Clark referred all questions about the matter per school board policy to Buckley. 


“The school board stands behind the vote,” Clark said. “We did the right thing for the children of Lowndes County, and it is time to move on.” 


Halford echoed that sentiment and said he made his recommendation based on information and data he had collected. He said he and the board have access to information that is “far greater” than people know, and that he doesn’t listen an awful lot to grown-ups who complain about things. 


Still, he said the decision was difficult. 


“This hurt me in a sense because Stacy Hester is a very good friend of mine,” Halford said. “My son played five years of baseball for Stacy Hester. Did he play as much as I wanted him to? No. Because of the lessons he learned, whether it be fair or unfair, he is a better person for going through New Hope baseball. My decision is based on what is best for children. That’s what people need to understand.” 


Halford also served as principal at New Hope High for more than 11 years. In that time, he watched Hester build one of the state’s premier high school baseball programs. In Hester’s 18 years as coach, the Trojans won 551 games, three state titles (1996, ‘98, and 2003), six North Half state titles, reached nine Final Fours since 1995, and were nationally ranked seven times. 


In 1996, New Hope set a national record when it went 43-0 and set a state record for victories in a season.  


From 1996-97, the Trojans won a state record 51 straight games, and 68 consecutive games against teams from the state of Mississippi. 


Halford said he took all of that into consideration when he made his recommendation. 


“This was a tough decision,” said Halford, who admitted he wavered about his decision “many times.” “For someone to look for a scapegoat out of this or for someone to point the finger, I was elected as superintendent and I made that decision as far as making a recommendation.” 


Halford said his decision wasn’t based on Hester’s involvement in one incident. 


“If it wasn’t one it had to be more than one,” said Halford, who planned to call Hester to notify him of the decision. He said he wouldn’t discuss his reasons with Hester on the telephone. 


Hester is in McAlester, Okla., coaching a group of high school juniors from the state of Mississippi at the Junior Sunbelt Classic. The Mississippi team beat Canada and an Oklahoma Gold team on Friday. 


“It would be nice if I had a reason why I am not being retained and people would not hide behind titles and let people behind the scenes (determine my fate),” Hester said. “I hate that people are trying to slander my name and my character. Even in a court of law you’re innocent until proven guilty.” 


Hester said he had been “lied to” by people in the past three weeks and that nothing ever has been put into his personnel file that says he needed to change his ways. He said he never has hit a kid in 24 years of coaching, and that he never wanted to hit a kid.  


He also said Halford never told him when he was principal at New Hope High or in his current position as superintendent what he needed to change to be a better or more accepted coach. 


Hester said he doesn’t know what his next step will be. He said he still enjoys coaching but that it would be difficult for him to accept another coaching job out of the area considering he has a landscaping business and owns a home in Lowndes County. 


He thanked the players, fans, parents, former players, and community members who came out the past three weeks to support him and who have helped the program in the past. 


“Without good kids and good parents you can’t have anything,” Hester said. “I am very thankful to all of the people who helped us make New Hope baseball one of the best in the state.” 


Hester’s last day as New Hope High baseball coach is June 30. He said he would remain a driver’s education teacher and a school bus driver at the school, and that he would complete his commitment this summer to New Hope’s Dizzy Dean baseball teams. 


Halford didn’t allow Hester to coach New Hope’s best-of-three North Half playoff series against Pontotoc after the coach was involved in an incident with second baseman Philip Tice in a playoff game against Hernando.  


Hester said he grabbed Tice to remove him from a possible altercation with a Hernando player that could have resulted in his team being disqualified from the playoffs. He moved Tice, who was ejected from the game, to the edge of the dugout, but Tice tripped on the top step, causing them to fall into the dugout. 


New Hope, which finished the season 25-11, swept Pontotoc in two games and went on to lose to eventual Class 4A state champion West Lauderdale in the third game of the best-of-three North Half finals. 


Hester also exchanged words with a parent at a game against Houston earlier in the season. He believes those incidents were used against him and contributed to him losing his job. 


Halford said Friday he wouldn’t discuss his reasons for recommending Hester not be retained.  


“This has no bearing on what happened six years ago, five years ago, or 12 years ago,” Halford said. “I am dealing with right now.” 


He also said he didn’t “poll” board members last month on how they might vote about retaining Hester as coach. He said he never asked the board members for a vote, but made sure they knew he was going to speak with Hester on May 22. He said he didn’t ask the board members their opinions about Hester when he spoke to them. 


“I don’t think there ever has been a situation I have been dealt with that I haven’t involved due process and had everyone involved,” Halford said. “If I was not, why would I go to coach Hester three weeks prior to this coming before the board? If I didn’t care about the man and the school


Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.



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Reader Comments

Article Comment KJ commented at 6/14/2009 4:22:00 AM:

I love how little actual communication there is between all the involved parties here: Buckley wouldn't talk to Hester, nobody wants to discuss any sort of "reasons" for anything, and everyone is admonished to "understand." That would be understanding based on...??? There can't be any understanding without facts or reasons. Not for Coach Hester, and not for the community. What there can be are some conclusions drawn about the efficacy of elected officials who govern behind a black curtain.


Article Comment Honorable Move commented at 6/14/2009 7:32:00 AM:

The school board did the right thing. Their job is always to put the children first and they did it this time.
This is a sad day in New Hope when we are all talking about where the line is drawn in how to treat children. Yelling at children to call them names and then yelling at parents is just too far. All the parents that then label this action as acceptable because they do it themselves and they can't deal with it.
Congratulations to the superintendent and the school board for standing up and not letting a bully push them around.

The only weak part of the whole deal is this "coverage" by Dispatch writer Adam Minichino. All of these ra-ra articles show such an unfair slant that these articles would not pass a high school newspaper class.

If the Dispatch wants to cover the news then hire someone that doesn't think everyone in sports can walk on water.


Article Comment Colleen Bearden commented at 6/14/2009 9:24:00 AM:

I truly have mixed emotions about the decision to let him go. I believe Hester truly does care for the children. He has put his heart and soul into the New Hope Baseball program.

The problem is that he coach's as if they are college players. The boys that go on to play college baseball do truly benefit from his ways. They get to the college level and don't have any problems adjusting because they are used to it. Some would say that's great and it is good for them. The problem - what is the percentage of boys that go on to play college ball? It is not college ball. Its is high school ball. There are so many boys left out of the positive lessons of high school baseball because 1)his style of coaching makes them hate baseball 2)some never go out all together because there personalities are milder and can't handle the negativity that is used as a coaching tool. Baseball, for the most part, is supposed to be fun.

I do not think that this latest incident was the reason for his dismissal. It is a culmination of several incidents over the years.

Just to clarify. My child is one of those boys that did benefit to a degree from his style of coaching because he did go on to play college ball. I am not a disgruntled parent whose child never got to play. But, I have also seen how negative coaching has squashed the self-esteem of several boys who then never got to see their full potential.

I wish him the best of luck in his future. I believe he needs to be coaching at the college level. New Hope will have a hard time finding anyone that will put the effort into the full program as Stacy Hester has. I truly believe he is a good person.


Article Comment F. Howard commented at 6/14/2009 9:57:00 AM:

I know there are those who think, "this is a great day for New Hope." Granted, we all have our opinions and I think, this is a sad day for New Hope and the baseball program. I've always thought that Coach Hester should be at the college level, not because of his coaching style, but because at that level, you know the kids want to play to the best of their ability. I believe at the college level the young men share the same kind of passion for baseball that Coach Hester exudes from every pore in his body. I'll never drive by the New Hope baseball field and feel any excitement or joy that the season is going to start. (and I love baseball) It just isn't going to be the same without Coach Hester. I'll have to put my love of baseball toward college ball. The Hester's are my dearest friends and my heart is hurting for all of them. The end result is they will grow stronger through this trial and come out of it as gold tried by fire.


Article Comment NH Parent commented at 6/14/2009 12:57:00 PM:

It is a sad day for those who support Coach Hester. Amy Buckley got her way through dirty politicis. Mike Halford and the board are gutless and spineless. You cant even talk to the man, that is sorry. I hope all this is remembered at election time. If you think this wont affect NH baseball you are mistaken. Maybe Amy and the school board and Mike should have played for Coach Hester and then they would have some guts. They have just divided the parents and kids. Not all parents felt like the choosen few, so yes there will be hard feelings. It will in time work out but not anytime soon. Maybe a transfer for some is the best for all. You guys made your bed and now go lay in it. I wish Coach Hester and his family the best. Watch out other NH coaches cause if you make the right parent mad you are next. What a sad day when a small few run NH school....


Article Comment Colleen Bearden commented at 6/14/2009 1:19:00 PM:

What about the timid voices that could not deal with his ways - Who is looking out for them. I do not wish anyone to loose their job, especially in this economy, but children should be treated with respect and yes taught to be strong but not through fear and humiliation


Article Comment NH Parent commented at 6/14/2009 1:55:00 PM:

To all those blaming Amy Buckley, you need to cool it. The woman went and talked to the man about a problem she had with him calling kids "stupid." As a coach and a male he despises anyone questioning him, especially a woman. She was just looking out for the kids and wanting a positive life experience for them. He too yelled back at her at the game and any professional acting coach would have just ignored the parent but he can't do that because of his arrogant attitude. He and the paper had to find a scapegoat for what he did to the kid and it's pretty sad that a journalist would get caught up in this blame game by Hester. He and his family have no one to blame but the coach who could not control himself.

It's not the first time he's lost control while at New Hope. He's been in at least three altercations with other coaches trying his little intimidation game. It doesn't work here at New Hope. Another altercation with the sheriff's deputy over moving his vehicle from a "no parking" zone is another incident that is not what we want our kids seeing at school either. He definitely thought he was mightier than the authority that day. I can go on and on but it doesn't matter now because it will be the last time it will happen and that I am grateful for as far as the kids are concerned.

Those calling Mike Halford spineless need to work a day in his shoes. He's got more than one coach to worry about. He's got thousands of kids to worry about daily, year round. You elected the man to that job so let him do it. You elected your school board member, so go to them and express your opinion, but let them administer the policy as it is written.

If you New Hope parents and former players were as worried about your kid's education as you are the baseball coach, an college education would be laid in their lap at the end of twelve years. 5% of the parents at New Hope participate in being a part of their child's education experience. More should care about education and the classroom.

Hester knew two weeks ago that he was going to be part of the agenda at the June 12th board meeting. But, like the arrogant person he is, he took off to Oklahoma to coach a baseball team and ignored what has been his livelyhood for years. If you think you are that important to baseball to not stay home and try to save your job, then you deserve what you got.

Thank you Mike Halford and the LCSD Board of Education for putting the safety and well being of our kids before winning and losing.


Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/14/2009 5:12:00 PM:

Good Riddance. Look forward to some positivity in the New Hope program...and maybe, just maybe...the kids will enjoy the game now. That's the ONLY reason to play any enjoy it.


Article Comment LV commented at 6/14/2009 5:30:00 PM:

Once again Mike Halford shows his lack of character and leadership. He always says that he is worried about what is best for the kids. The truth is the LCSD has declined in test scores and discipline each year under his watch. He is not a Superintendent of Education, he is a politician that has no backbone and talks out of both sides of his mouth. I am just glad that this will cost him the next election and we can get some real leadership at the central office.


Article Comment Concerned Parent commented at 6/14/2009 6:19:00 PM:

Amy Buckley worries about Coach Hester saying "stupid", when he did not call a child stupid, he said "That is stupid.", when she says the "F" word every third word!! If Mike Halford and the board are so worried about the children they need to keep them away from her!!!


Article Comment Idea! commented at 6/14/2009 7:41:00 PM:

Buckley (Dr. or Mrs.) versus Hester in the next school Board Election.


Article Comment FormerCoach commented at 6/14/2009 7:57:00 PM:

I dont know all of the facts about this case but I do know this. Bear Bryant would last about a week coacing in today's society. Gone are the days when a kid could be pushed, critizied for lack of effort, held accoutable for his actions and made to live up to a set of "team" rules. Parents are concerned about Little Johnny's self esteem and star status. I remmeber well the lessons I learned when being pushed in the hot August heat. Lesson like what are you going to do when it gets tough in when you are in the uunemploment line, when your wife leaves you, when you have more bills than you have money or when you are passed over for a job by a lessor qualified person. Life is tough but we are making soft children for the tough life ahead. Children are not tested or pushed in any way today tath will prepare them for the real world. It's all about "ME, ME, ME or I, I, I!!! Forget the team accomplishments as long as MY son gets a trophy. The United States used to be made of tough individuals forged by tough parents, teachers, and coaches. Today parents want to do anything within their power, including geting people fired for trival reasons, to make life easy for their child. You are setting them up for failure......and time will show this to be true.


Article Comment L. Swindle commented at 6/14/2009 8:45:00 PM:

I thought Mike Halford was a Trojan. Well, we now know where his loyalties lie. I think Halford and the school board have shown their true colors. Please remember this at election time. Our children need more discipline because some of them do not get it at home. As for Amy Buckley, she needs to be taken to the woodshed. I hate this for the many kids that need Coach Hester's influence in their lives. If Halford is so concerned about the kids, why is Coach Hester being allowed to drive a schoolbus(full of kids) and teach Driver's Ed with kids in the car? Mr. Halford, can you answer that one? Very sad day for New Hope to let go the best coach they have had in a really long time. Again, I hate this for the kids. Maybe Halford can hire Amy Buckley to be his baseball coach since it seems like she's calling the shots at New Hope. To the Hester family, you all have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Please pray for Amy Buckley, Mike Halford and the School Board that they may see their wicked ways of getting rid of the best baseball coach that New Hope will ever see. I have known Stacy for a very long time and you will be hard pressed to find a better man for your child to be around and influenced by. I know God will take care of the Hester family and God will also take care of those people that have done the Hester family wrong. If Amy Buckley is looking out for the kids and wanting a positive life experience for them, then she needs to clean her own act up. The way she conducts herself is a disgrace and a disappointment to womankind and I am sorry to say that she is a part of the New Hope community.


Article Comment William commented at 6/14/2009 9:55:00 PM:

It is sad that this community is dealing with this. However, it is hard to believe that Amy Buckley is someone that other are being so harsh too. It is never one persons fault. It is funny to see others bashing her or anyone else for mistakes being made. I have observed comments being made for quite a while. I think everyone needs prayers! Its a shame that anyone was directly called out to begin with. Thats where the mistake was made, because soon after there were children, heritage, coaches and finger pointing going on. Everyone needs to reread this article. However, people placing blame should place there name above their comment so they to can show there community and others how they are. I am just shocked to see so called adults get on here and not put their name. Praying for the community. William


Article Comment Ryan Cornelius commented at 6/14/2009 10:16:00 PM:

You know... I haven't said much here about this story since I live in Orlando, and haven't been home to New Hope in 15 years. But I have been reading all about this.

I think the text I quote below pretty much nails the coffin on what happened to Coach Hester. Since I never played for Coach Hester, I am sure I can be objective about this... Emphasis is mine.

"Amy Buckley, the WIFE of Lowndes County School District Board President Dr. Robert Buckley and whose SON, Jake Smith, is a RISING SENIOR on the baseball team, said she is ready to move on and that she and her family want to put the issue behind them.

"We just want to play baseball," Buckley said. Buckley said she looked into the possibility of Jake playing his senior year at HERITAGE ACADEMY (WHAT!?!?!?). She also said the family considered buying a home in Amory."

You know, this says so much about this whole situation. First - that the Dispatch would talk to the wife of the President of the School board makes it seem as though she is intimately familiar with the situation. Almost as though she was the one leading the charge. From down here in Orlando, it looks like the parents of Lowndes County School District have been done a disservice.

From here it looks as though the Lowndes County School District Board President Dr. Robert Buckley is under the thumb of his wife.

From here it looks as though Amy Buckley was going to move her rising senior son to a private school if Coach Hester wasn't removed.

From here I would ask why someone who is supposed to support the kids of Lowndes County would suddenly decide that a private school is better for their child than the school district he works for?

If I were a parent in Lowndes County right now with a child in any of the three high schools, I would seriously consider if my ELECTED officials were the ones officiating. Or perhaps it is the spouse of the elected official that is really calling the shots.

I am sure Ms. Amy Buckley is ready to move on now that it appears she has gotten her husband to do her bidding...

Why is it the Lowndes County School Board wont release all the information they have regarding their decision? If it is the best interest of the children, and Coach Hester doesn't seem to mind talking about it in public, then why haven't they been forthcoming with this information that Mike Halford has eluded to in the article posted on this website a couple of days ago. "Halford echoed that sentiment and said he made his recommendation based on information and data he had collected. He said he and the board have access to information that is "far greater" than people know, and that he doesn't listen an awful lot to grown-ups who complain about things." (Commercial Dispatch June 13) As an elected official - as all the board members are - they are beholden to the people who elected them. If Hester doesn't mind talking about it in public, then I believe the public has a right to know.

But wait... From the same article Halford says: "'If it wasn't one it had to be more than one,' said Halford, who planned to call Hester to notify him of the decision. He said he wouldn't discuss his reasons with Hester on the telephone." So now the board wont even talk to Hester about all the reasons the decision was based on. Hester states as much in the same article. "It would be nice if I had a reason why I am not being retained and people would not hide behind titles and let people behind the scenes (determine my fate)," Hester said.

Are the members of the Lowndes County School Board ashamed that it would appear they have been kowtowed into a decision by the wife of the school board president if the real reason for the termination was reveled?

Buckley said there was "no deviousness" involved in the decision not to retain Hester. I will let the voters decide how to take that comment. From the comments his wife is making is sure doesn't appear that way to me from here. A non-explanation termination. No previous action plans in Coach Hesters file. A mother that wants to send her child to a private school instead of the school district her husband works for...
"Sometimes the right thing is not the most popular thing," Buckley said of the decision. "We all try to serve the taxpayers and the parents of the kids (of Lowndes County)."

If I were still a taxpayer and a parent in Lowndes County you would not be serving me much longer. Neither would the other seemingly weak individuals that make up the current structure of the Lowndes County School Board. And since when did serving the kids of Lowndes County take a back seat?

Listen to the dedication and commitment of your superintendent...

(Commercial Dispatch June 13) Halford also was unsure how his decision might affect his ability to win an election for another term as school superintendent. He said he didn't know if he would seek re-election when his term expires Dec. 31, 2011.
"If someone determines in 2011 this is a reason not to vote for Mike Halford as superintendent, I have no problem with that," Halford said. "I was looking for a job when I found this one."

I was looking for a job when I found this one... Can you imagine if a coach at any of the high schools in Lowndes County had the nerve to say that? You have to have more heart and pride in your work than to say something a weak as that.

I am hoping the Parents, the Taxpayers, and the Voters of Lowndes County keep this in mind next time they decide who is going to be protecting their children from someone like Coach Hester... A school board president who would consider sending his child to a private school. A superintendent that appears not to care about his district in so much so that he is always looking for a job. And other school board members that appear not to have a mind of their own when it comes to standing up to the President and his wife.


Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/15/2009 12:49:00 AM:

GOOD coaches instill discipline to benefit the players. Hester doesn't care about the players. It's all about him, which ultimately led to his demise.


Article Comment Colleen Bearden commented at 6/15/2009 8:41:00 AM:

This truly is a sad situation. William from the comment above is right. Amy Buckley has been used as the scapegoat in this. All she did was stand up for what she believed in. Numerous people have wanted to, but did not want to deal with exactly what is happening. Amy Buckley, however powerful you might like to think she is, could not have made something like this happen on her own. Coach Hester is fully aware of the numerous situations that have happened over the years that have brought his style of coaching into question. It is not a matter of having no idea why he was let go. I believe it was the last time the school board was willing to overlook it. Remember these are children. You do not have to use a negative, demeaning, self-esteem squashing style of coaching to teach children to be good citizens, teach them that life is not easy or to win.

Stacey Hester is a good person. He belongs coaching at another level. Yes, he truly has done many wonderful things for New Hope and you probably will never find someone to give you the commitment he has.


Article Comment Trojans#1 commented at 6/15/2009 9:15:00 AM:

I think Mike Alford and Mr. and Mrs. Buckley should be ASHAMED! I wished coach Hester the very best!!


Article Comment thm commented at 6/15/2009 10:13:00 AM:

I love Bob & Amy Buckley! Everyone is not against you! You do have some support out here! Hold your head high.


Article Comment thm commented at 6/15/2009 10:25:00 AM:

I love Bob & Amy Buckley! Everyone is not against you! You do have some support out here! Hold your head high.


Article Comment NH parent commented at 6/15/2009 10:48:00 AM:

Some of us were leftout of the loop,I did not know and still don't know full details yet,but if an injustice was done,it must be corrected.If this had been an "African-American would it get all this publizity?


Article Comment hk commented at 6/15/2009 10:58:00 AM:

I feel this should have been decided by an impartial board--too much bad blood with the school board. I do not feel he got a fair shake.. we need some people that are good and honest and fair to step up and run for the school board--out with the old..


Article Comment Fred commented at 6/15/2009 10:58:00 AM:

There are too many NH parents trying to live Vicarious through their kids. It is a game. Meant to be played for fun. I understand New Hope doesn't have anything going for it but baseball but it is time to stop beating the dead horse.


Article Comment M Lester commented at 6/15/2009 11:08:00 AM:

I am so sadden to see this happen to Coach Hester, such a fine family. I also am so sadden to read what Mr. Mike Alford stated to the Dispatch... What a poor attitude to have "I was looking for a job when I found this one." If everyone in the world felt this way, just think what kind of job performace you would get from them... Maybe this is why he has done this to the Hester Family. May God bless Stacy Hester and his family.


Article Comment Trojans#1 commented at 6/15/2009 11:29:00 AM:

I think Mike Alford and Mr. and Mrs. Buckley should be ASHAMED! I wished coach Hester the very best!!


Article Comment CB commented at 6/15/2009 11:51:00 AM:

Money can not buy class and it sounds like Mrs. Buckley lacks a lot of class! I bet her precious little angel got upset because someone actually held he accountable for something. I do not know anyone involved but from what I have read from the articles and the comments, Coach Hester was a victim of a pansy little kid that got upset about something, so mommy had to take care of it. I had always said that if I had a son good at baseball I would love for him to play in New Hope, with people in the community and on the board there, no way I would want to move there. We wonder what is wrong with society today, this school board, superintendent, and Mrs. Buckley are the core of the education problem.


Article Comment Brad Haines commented at 6/15/2009 12:58:00 PM:

LOOK! Enough is Enough with the name calling on everyone's part. We should all be adults here but some are acting like children. Quit calling names and acting as if you know all the facts when you actually know very little.

I think the wrong decision was made. I think Mike Halford dropped the ball MANY MANY times during his time in the LC school district. He is a fence rider and has alot more detractors than supporters.

Maybe Coach should change his ways of coaching and motivating and disciplining kids. But also maybe Mike Halford or the others in charge should put that out there and call for the change. You cannot just sweep CRAP under the rug for years and then all of a sudden change your tone and fire the man. I witnessed Mike for years talk about ignorant parents and listening to their bitching and moaning and he would tell them what they wanted to hear and then come to our coaches office and talk about them and how ignorant they were about their kids and baseball. THEN, he became the worst of all.

He blasts a personal friend of mine and fellow coach in a meeting that was supposed to be as a parent. He was questioning why his son was not playing and being the same way the parents were that he called ignorant for years. When he got the answer he didnt want to hear he dropped a WORLD RECORD 25 GD's, 34 Mother F-----rs, and basically verbally raped the coach who was an employee of his and a friend of his. Mike is full of it. He talks about what is best for the "children of Lowndes County" but why is Coach still allowed to drive a bus, teach and do drivers ed if he is such a "danger" to the kids? Does not add up to me.

He is unprofessional. He is to blame for this situation as much as anyone if not more. He was Stacy Hester's boss for 18 years. For 18 years, he listened to parents complain about coach talking down to kids etc... and for 18 years he said "no big deal, they are just ignorant parents who dont understand".

Now why all of a sudden is it different Mike? That is what confuses and angers me. Coach may be at fault for some things but so is Mike and many others. People want to crucify Coach Hester while they continue to live lives worse than him and act as if they are better people.

Again, lets stop with the name calling etc....

Lets act like adults. Let us move on. Coach is gone and the few people of NH who wanted it got it so be happy. For those who support Coach, continue to do so.


Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/15/2009 1:37:00 PM: have no idea what you are talking about. The majority of people are glad Hester is gone. The few people that like him come on here to defend him. If you are basing your judgements simply from the paper and these posts, you are being missled.


Article Comment BB Dad commented at 6/15/2009 1:52:00 PM:

Hester's recent behavior is nothing new. He's been pulling this same stuff for years and he's gotten away with it because he had a winning program. Those parents that continue to support Hester have allowed him to treat their sons (and daughters....) in a way that they would never allow anyone else! The only difference this time is that he chose to mistreat a player that had a parent with some influence with the school board. Unfortunately, THAT SAME PERSON defended him and thought he was wonderful when he was doing the same thing to other kids. It was only when he chose her son to belittle that she deemed it necessary to see him removed from his job. I agree with the board's decision. I just think that it should have happened years ago when he was abusing the kids whose parents didn't have the "influence" with the board.


Article Comment Marnie commented at 6/15/2009 3:58:00 PM:

I am really sickened by some of you on here without first hand knowledge of the "Coach" Hester. You keep blaming someone who has nothing to do with Coach Hester losing his job. He did this himself! My nephew is on this team, my nephew told me what happened in that dugout in Hernando. It was an assault, it was brutal and it was wrong. My husband has a coaching degree and he would have been hand-cuffed if he had done this. Friends from Desoto say they called the district office to give witness it was so terrible. I do not blame the child for whatever reason they had for changing their story, it is their right but I do believe Coach Hester's arrogance into thinking if they are ok then the rest of the team doesn't matter was a huge dagger in his job. He uses coaching tactics such as public humiliation and throws around words to destroy and to hurt. I wonder if he had an abusive father himself. He wears his "good person " badge like he earned it by attending church but will lie to you in a heartbeat. He is not a good man or has a personality defect way beyond most. No good man would be so arrogant as to not think he did nothing wrong by assaulting a kid and this was not the first time, "NO", I have never hit a kid" well no you haven't but you have been "accused" of throwing a kid against a bus, a dugout wall, and 2 have tripped down steps. He has been counciled by church members , parents , and Mr. Halford several times.Coach Hester, A small bit of humility would have gone a long, long way and if you are such a wonderful man then where is that bit of humility? We waited and waited on a hint, just a hint but what we saw was guilt, arrogance and lashing of your tongue like a sword to innocent people, good people. .You played "stupid" so well you deserve a trophy. Your family just forgot to mention to you June 12 was a pretty important day for your employment status or did they happen upon a board meeting or did you choose to go to a baseball game which has nothing to do with New Hope because you were untouchable? This Mom everyone is bashing seemed to be a huge supporter, she too told him his team had no heart left for the game.New Hope baseball has been slowly decaying for a few years now due to Coach Hester. Kids transferring, kids quitting, no one trying out. The stands have been empty in comparison to the "good ole days" Once you graduate , most do not return. I said most because there are the few that do. We want better! We ALL called board members so how can one person be blamed? The seniors called a team meeting with the assistant coaches way before termoil began and wanted him (Coach Hester) in the dugout , not coaching on the field. The coaches told the boys they had to love baseball more than they hated him. They were tired of their guts pored out on red clay and Coach Hester not there to pick them up. He lost his team way before he lost his temper in that dugout. It all makes perfect sense to me why he is fired! . This time he has the true baseball community against him, not has-beens and wanna be's and politicians with a bad dye job from yesterday. If I could say anything to any young parent I would say, What if your child told you what really happened?" What and where would you stand then? We are standing up for the right thing, we would need the football stadium for our rally!


Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/15/2009 5:55:00 PM:

Well said, Marnie. Well said.


Article Comment NH Parent commented at 6/15/2009 6:48:00 PM:

MARNIE, I adore you. Thank you for your post. You, like me, are well aware of what the real man is like. You hit so many nails on the head with that post.


Article Comment trojansupporter commented at 6/16/2009 1:14:00 AM:

I have to ask has the culture not changed with kids? the parents are also more tolerant to the things kids do today most thinks their kids do no wrong, and maybe that is why coach Hester has changed the way he coach's young men, example: beer cans laying behind the field house, this has to be difficult for coach Hester to accept, and I know all the kids don't drink but it puts the whole team in a bad light, now for him saying things that hurts the young men feelings or lowers their self esteem I would say it could be preparing them for what they will face when they graduate and get a real Job, because some of the players will have to go to work and won't play baseball at the next level and I have to say unless you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth or you own your own business it is a brutal world and all he is doing is preparing young men for that challenge. As I was getting my butt kicked and my boss was cursing me at work the other day I thought back to my high school basketball coach he ripped my heart out several times and I just thought how mentally tough he made me. Young men in the 11th and 12th grade are becoming men and whats wrong with them being treated like men because at some point in the near future they will be faced with a tough person in the working world and he will be a lot tougher than Coach Hester, most will thank coach Hester for making then mentally tough. Look at all the grown men that can say coach Hester made me a better man! It might hurt their feelings now but in the long run it will help them survive a very tough world. As for what happened in Hernando you can not judge him until you have walked in his shoes there is not many people that have not lost their temper over something and if the player had made it back out on the field it would have been Coach Hester's fault too. If it would have been my son I would have went to dugout but it would have been to kick my sons butt for causing the incident to begin with. No one seems to understand he did not ask for this it just happened and it happened very fast and I would say anyone that has a child knows that sometimes you have to get tough with them to show them you mean business it might mean getting ruff with them depending on the situation as what discipline is dished out, is that abuse? I think not. Coach Hester does not curse the kids as some coaches do. I often times catch myself calling my son some of the names the person listed above P_____ Lazy and some other choice words because it appears he is not giving 100% So I say things that I hope will motivate him to pick it up. Some parents baby their kids others use tough love I think both methods work but in today's world you better be mentally tough to succeed. It doesn't matter weather you go to college or work both things takes a lot of discipline and hard work, I want to say these are two things that are important to coach Hester (hard work) and (discipline)that is what he teaches that is why very few kids that play for him every get in trouble and most are successful in life because of hard work and discipline. I truly feel that everyone should be a good supporter of NH sports and let the coaches coach and just cheer the for the team. We do not need to loose any more good role models believe it or not kids do look up to coach Hester, my 12 year old thinks of coach Hester as some people think of Bear Bryant its tough explain why he is not the coach any more and he won't have the opportunity to learn from him. I have to comment on Adam Minichino I can still remember all the articles written to the news paper about 6 years ago when there was no coverage of NH sports in the paper unless something big happened Adam has changed that and he gives us great coverage on all schools on all sports I don't see him taking sides in this he is just giving coach Hester's accomplishments he is just reporting the story and doing one heck of Job doing it too. I hope everyone is like me I pull for all area teams when they are not playing NH of coarse. Good luck to all teams in this next year.


Article Comment louis johnson commented at 6/17/2009 2:30:00 PM:

Give me a break. All these post against and for Coach. Very few of you will use your real name. If you want to bash the man or support him that is your choice. Me personally I consider the Hester's friends. Just have the courage to put up your real name. Why not use your real name if you do non thave anything to hide. Everyone wants to talk about how Hester treats kids so badly, well use you name so we can see where you get your information. If it is second hand or is it from first hand knowledge. Most of it will be second hand from a few disgruntled parents and kids. Just be open about who you really are.


Article Comment louis johnson commented at 6/17/2009 2:30:00 PM:

Give me a break. All these post against and for Coach. Very few of you will use your real name. If you want to bash the man or support him that is your choice. Me personally I consider the Hester's friends. Just have the courage to put up your real name. Why not use your real name if you do non thave anything to hide. Everyone wants to talk about how Hester treats kids so badly, well use you name so we can see where you get your information. If it is second hand or is it from first hand knowledge. Most of it will be second hand from a few disgruntled parents and kids. Just be open about who you really are.


Article Comment td commented at 6/18/2009 1:12:00 PM:

As an alumin of New Hope. I have said before I ever I had children I would not want them going to New Hope. My children had to after moving back to Mississippi, as I lived out of town I experienced how a school should be. I was a student when Mike Halford was principal and Stacy Hester was coach as individuals both men were very good men who care for the kids. The problem was with the Hardins, Hesters and others cheerleaders football baseball coaches if you werent somebody money power etc. you wouldn't be Nobody at New Hope. Just look back and do your own research in elementry the softball coach Tabetha Baird is over the Elementry beauty review check where her daughter places every year check where the other theachers daughters place considence I think not thats how New Hope was when I was there and when my children went there. Hester has been a coach for a long time at New Hope maybe the school and hisself needs a change. When MANY PEOPLE can get a flyer with the names on it for whose in the event, tryout, or whatever and can pretty much circle the names on it about who will win make the team etc. and be pretty close to 100 percent rite wheres the problem? AND IT HAS BEEN DONE!


Article Comment BS commented at 6/18/2009 4:23:00 PM:

What on god's green earth are you talking about?


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