Article Comment 

Hester out as New Hope baseball coach

 

Adam Minichino

 

Stacy Hester is still confused, and now he apparently is out of a job he loves. 

 

On Friday, Lowndes County School District Superintendent Mike Halford recommended Hester not be retained as New Hope High School''s baseball coach. 

 

None of the five school board members asked to have the issue of Hester''s status pulled from the consent agenda, where it could have been up for an open vote. 

 

The board then voted 5-0 to accept Halford''s recommendation. 

 

Hester said at 2:35 p.m. Saturday, while coaching his Mississippi team in a game against a team from Texas in the Junior Sunbelt Classic in McAlester, Okla., that he hadn''t spoken to Halford or anyone on the Lowndes County school board who officially told him he hadn''t been retained as New Hope High''s baseball coach. 

 

He said New Hope High Principal Lynn Wright, who recommended Hester be retained as the school''s baseball coach, called him to say he was "sorry." 

 

"No doubt I feel it is a personal vendetta against me," Hester said. "Most of the people who have heard this are wondering how this happened and I need to know what really happened. How can you fire a guy for winning and forcing kids to act right and being tough on them?" 

 

Hester said three or four people told him earlier this week the superintendent wanted him back. But he said he couldn''t get a straight answer from very many people about his status, which left him wondering Friday if he still would have a job.  

 

He hopes the decision about his coaching job doesn''t affect other coaches in the county. 

 

"How does any coach in this district expect to have success when they don''t know what to believe?" Hester said. "I was told several conflicting things and I hear it and I wonder, ''Where did that come from?'' " 

 

Hester said he never woke up every morning intending to get on players publicly or privately. He said he isn''t going to apologize for his high expectations of his players and for putting them through strenuous practices to prepare them for games. 

 

Hester said the Trojans work so hard in practice to do things the right way that he gets frustrated when they aren''t able to execute in a game. 

 

On Friday, a group of people that included Hester''s daughters Jennifer Ball and Neely attended the school board meeting to listen to discussion of the issue or to make comments. 

 

Halford''s recommendation not to retain Hester was one of the consent agenda items approved at the beginning of the meeting. As a result, there was no discussion, which surprised several people who attended the meeting. 

 

"I just feel like the people on the board used their positions to take this man''s job," said Paula Gregory, who is the treasurer of the Diamond Club, the booster club for the New Hope High baseball team. "Only one person on the board talked to Stacy Hester. Everyone else took statements from parents. This is unjustified. I hate this. I hate this." 

 

Gregory said Hester "didn''t deserve" not to be retained and that she thought a decision on his status would be made at the board meeting, not what in her estimation was done before the meeting. 

 

Mike Smith, a former Lowndes County supervisor, agreed with Gregory the issue wasn''t handled the right way. Smith, who lives in New Hope and who has watched the New Hope High baseball program since 1982, said an investigation needs to be done on both parts of the issue. 

 

He emphasized Halford is a very close friend and he respects his opinion, but they disagree on this issue. He said Hester gave 18 years of his life and did everything in his power to help the community come together behind a successful baseball program. 

 

"I think (Halford) has made the wrong decision, and the board also," Smith said. "They haven''t given the public any reason for the decision. It is a disgrace. ... I wanted more discipline in the school. The parents and the teachers talk about doing discipline and then we have a coach who tries to do discipline and he gets fired for it. It is totally wrong." 

 

Smith doesn''t feel Halford and the board have a reason for not retaining Hester as New Hope High baseball coach. He said people can highlight negative things Hester might have done in 18 years, but he said people also need to look at all of the positive things he did and all of the players who graduated from the program. He said many of those kids went on to play baseball in college, and even more learned important life lessons. 

 

"This is a sad day for sports and coaches all over," Smith said. "Where do they stand? My thinking is the board is so concerned about getting rid of these people, why aren''t they concerned about putting some kind of policy in place?" 

 

Smith said regulations need to be put in place to prevent this from happening to another coach. He said guidelines have to be given to coaches, principals, and administrators on how to handle these situations and to coaches so they know when they need to change their coaching methods. 

 

Chris Herring, who played for Hester at New Hope in 1992 and ''93 and who has a nephew, Philip Tice, on the current New Hope High baseball team, helped organize a meeting last month for people who supported Hester. The gathering at New Hope High attracted more than 200 people, which gave Herring reason to believe Hester had a chance to retain his job as the school''s baseball coach. 

 

Unfortunately, things didn''t turn out that way, and Herring believes the decision was made before Friday''s board meeting. 

 

"We need to understand we''re the ones voting these knuckleheads in for us," Herring said. "It will be something to think about the next time the campaign comes around. We put our trust in these people to do the right thing, but I think (Hester) was railroaded. The more I find out I think it was a done deal before we started rallying for him." 

 

Hester said he would entertain any options in the area that allowed him to continue to coach. He also said he would be OK if he was finished with coaching. He said he plans to continue to teach driver''s education and to drive a school bus at New Hope High. 

 

"God is going to carry me through," Hester said. "I am not the best Christian. I am a Christian who knows God has a plan for everybody." 

 

 

Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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Reader Comments

Article Comment Mary Felkner commented at 6/15/2009 12:54:00 PM:

I can't believe that New Hope was so short sighted to let Coach Hester Go. He probability has more state chapionship than any coach in the state.

 

Article Comment hk commented at 6/15/2009 1:20:00 PM:

Enjoy your next years with a losing season--No Hope! You had a good thing.. your team will never be looked at the same..

 

Article Comment RICK commented at 6/15/2009 1:41:00 PM:

BAD DECISION ON SCHOOL BOARD'S PART. GOD BLESS YOU COACH HESTER.

 

Article Comment thm commented at 6/15/2009 3:39:00 PM:

I love Bob & Amy Buckley!

 

Article Comment NH Parent commented at 6/16/2009 12:46:00 AM:

To Mary Felkner:

He didn't even have the most state championships at New Hope. The softball teams under Coach Shepherd had way more than his teams. I know a lot more baseball coaches in the state that had more than he had. You need to quit listening to the biased opinion of your kinfolk in the area.

 

Article Comment Bobby Burks commented at 6/16/2009 9:07:00 AM:

What could possibly be positive about removing Stacy as the baseball coach at a school that he himself put on the map? You will not find 2 coaches that could replace him. What a sad day for his family and friends. Good luck, Stacy, and best wishes for you and your wonderful family.

 

Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/16/2009 11:26:00 AM:

Kids being able to enjoy the game of baseball now is a pretty big positive.

 

Article Comment meme commented at 6/16/2009 12:11:00 PM:

SAM I AM...I swear you must be either Amy or Dr. Buckley..huummmm...Enjoying the game..sure they will...until they continue to lose and see how they messed up by letting Coach Hester go..How fun is that..Maybe fun for you..Highly doubt the team enjoys it that much. Lets get Younger (the back stabber) to coach..and maybe Amy can be the assistant..so much fun..what cha say

 

Article Comment Ryan Cornelius commented at 6/16/2009 12:49:00 PM:

NH Parent has got to be Amy Buckley... First she tells me not to listen to everything the newpaper has to say, now she is telling Mary Felkner to not listen "to the biased opinion of your kingolk int he area."

So who all should we listen to Ms. Buckley? Just you?

I challenge you again to post your name so we all know who we are talking to...

 

Article Comment Concerned Parent commented at 6/16/2009 1:26:00 PM:

It is truly another example of how the Lowndes County School Board uses its authority for personal use under the guise of "what's best for the children". Mr. Hester has acted like every other coach in the Lowndes County School District. He is tough, fair, expects the children to comply with his wishes, and wants his team to excel. Mr. Hester, and every coach at any Lowndes County School now has to fear for their job because of the precedent that Mr. Halford and the Board has set. Because Mrs. Amy Buckley's problems with Mr. Hester, it would seem that Dr. Robert Buckley would have recused himself from voting. I have never met Mrs. Buckley, but is seems that she should be working on her own problems, i.e. verbal abuse of others and her use of profanity in front of children, instead of a personal vendetta. Could this be a case of her wanting her own way? And her husband ensured that she got it? I was offended by Mr. Halford's statement "that he doesn't listen to adult's whining and complaining". Great news, if the adults stand together he will never have to listen to us again. I say his reign is over and it's time for him and the members of Lowndes County School Board to be voted out! We the people of Lowndes County have a say in what happens and it is past time for us to speak!

 

Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/16/2009 3:05:00 PM:

Do you actually think that Hester was the reason games were won? You don't know much about baseball. Players PLAY the game...not coaches.

 

Article Comment trojansupporter commented at 6/16/2009 3:21:00 PM:


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 Concerned parent commented at 6/16/2009 6:48:00 PM:

You are right! Coaches coach, players play. But without a first class coach who knows how to teach the players, you've got nothing. Those boys did not get where they are today without Stacy Hester. Yes, you can get another coach...but you may never have the "team" that you had. But hey, maybe another school will pick up Coach Hester and New Hope can watch as from the sidelines!

 

Article Comment NH Parent commented at 6/16/2009 7:29:00 PM:

HYPOCRISY! HYPOCRISY! Mr. Halford. Coach Hester has more class than any of NH Coaches. ALL of YOUR NH Horrible to the kids. Talk to your parents. HYPOCRISY! to fire Coach Hester! Other coaches are demeaning, cursing and harrassing kids and nothing is done. THAT IS HYPOCRISY SIR!

 

Article Comment Publius commented at 6/16/2009 9:33:00 PM:

Fiends, countrymunchkins, yearn me your yarns. Tis more outgregious to surfer the slangs and errors of outforsaken misfortune than to dissemble from within? To be or to be not is the question for the fans and athletic supporters of NH. Whatsoever is done to thy navel shall whatforever be done to ye? NOT!^^^^^^^^^^Ye ole fouls, balls, and errs are done and the last inning is far outing. Ye can no more go back than discern from a plate you've ne'er beeen! Facemasking, facemaking or facesafing will ne'er kachange the final scar! So the dog in the hurt lies, and so he may hurt, but to eat once agin he most ascaredly must HUNT. Trojans, to be buried face down in an anty mold all pointy fingers, or to rise on the morn leavening behing all the scorn, sword hell high with shield close by leading all the chilly on to victy, THAT is the query!

 

Article Comment Publius commented at 6/16/2009 9:40:00 PM:

Fiends, countrymunchkins, yearn me your yarns. Tis more outgregious to surfer the slangs and errors of outforsaken misfortune than to dissemble from within? To be or to be not is the question for the fans and athletic supporters of NH. Whatsoever is done to thy navel shall whatforever be done to ye? NOT!^^^^^^^^^^Ye ole fouls, balls, and errs are done and the last inning is far outing. Ye can no more go back than discern from a plate you've ne'er beeen! Facemasking, facemaking or facesafing will ne'er kachange the final scar! So the dog in the hurt lies, and so he may hurt, but to eat once agin he most ascaredly must HUNT. Trojans, to be buried face down in an anty mold all pointy fingers, or to rise on the morn leavening behing all the scorn, sword hell high with shield close by leading all the chilly on to victy, THAT is the query!

 

Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/16/2009 11:21:00 PM:

First class coach?

 

Article Comment Concerned Parent commented at 6/17/2009 9:40:00 AM:

First class coach! Unfortunately, the parents of the New Hope Baseball team are not first class. Amy Buckley for one! Any one that is that foul mouthed should have been escorted from the game. Sorry to hurt any feelings Sam I Am, but I call as I see it! Try attending a few games other than NH or watching/listening to the coaching staff with any other team sport.

 

Article Comment baseballparent commented at 6/17/2009 10:46:00 AM:

How come all of the Hester haters do not seem to remember a basketball coach form 2 or 3 years ago. The same coach who thought of Bobby Knight as his idol. The same one who would throw chairs and kick garbage cans at half time. The same on who cussed like a sailor at and to te players. The same one who constanly showed his rear on a basketball court. Where was all of the concearn for the kids then. Could it be that he played the politics with certain parents so that his behaviour and actions were not brought out in the public. Where was Halford's concearn for the kids then, or could it be he has finally caved in to pressure from the "elite" at New Hope. The same eite that moved out here for the exposure their kids would receive from the baseball program that Coach Hester took to a higher level. The progam was no lsouch when he arrived, but he took the program to new heights. New Hope baseball is known throughtout the southeast and is a very well repected program. The program fro this point on will be on a downward slide, because we will get a coach who will not take the pide in the program that Coach Hester takes and will not work near as hard to keep the facility one of the top 2 or 3 in the state.

 

Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/17/2009 3:04:00 PM:

baseballparent....you are referring to Coach Byrd and he actually cares for his kids. I don't agree with how he acts in games, but he cares for them genuinely. Hester does not.

 

Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/17/2009 3:04:00 PM:

baseballparent....you are referring to Coach Byrd and he actually cares for his kids. I don't agree with how he acts in games, but he cares for them genuinely. Hester does not.

 

Article Comment NH Parent #999 commented at 6/17/2009 4:08:00 PM:

baseballparent:

Robert Byrd never talked to his kids the way Hester did his. When they made a mistake he told them what they did wrong, not make some off the cuff comment that was intended as a putdown instead of a correction. We heard it many times sitting up next to the fence and it was a shame that some of those kids had to tolerate that for 5 or 6 years. Byrd may curse out of frustration but he always had something positive to say to the kids and didn't continuously berate the kid for weeks on end.

Throwing baseball bats down through a dugout or hitting a wall with one is in the same category as kicking trash cans and throwing chairs. However, when you have a principal who is never there to see these things, you can only blame that administrator for not taking control. Seems that is the situation we are in at the moment.

WARNING to all coaches .. take note of Mr. Halford's decision. Straighten up your act or be the next one out the door. I do believe you will see the football program grow now that the kids will not be hounded to play only baseball. The baseball program will be fine and win just like it has before. The kids are still here (you know, the ones who really played and won the games) and they will have a great coach next year and I look forward to seeing them play.

Also, Robert Byrd spends so much time trying to help his players go to the next level. Stacy Hester has never done that. He's even blackballed kids with local JUCO coaches just because he didn't like them or their parents.

 

Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/17/2009 5:44:00 PM:

Great points, #999. Especially the last paragraph. That, above everything else, tells you how the coach feels about the kids.

 

Article Comment LS commented at 6/17/2009 10:32:00 PM:

Sam I Am,

I would like you to ask Josh Ferguson if he thinks Coach Hester care about him. The sad thing is that you will not because he will give you the answer that you do not want to hear. There are plenty more players that feel Coach Hester cares for them deeply. You are also defending Byrd's actions? Please do your research because that shows your true character or lack there of.

 

Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/18/2009 1:34:00 AM:

LS, I don't need to ask anyone about Hester caring for kids. I know he doesn't deep down, and his actions prove it. Everyone has seen it first hand.

 

Article Comment LS commented at 6/18/2009 8:15:00 AM:

Of course!!!!! The exact answer I thought you would give. I love the way you use "everyone" in you post. The thing is your comment is false because there are a multitude of players that will tell you how much Coach cares for them. Why dont you just admit that you simply do not like Hester and want him gone. Dont get on here and continually make up generalized statements that have no foundation.

 

Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/18/2009 10:10:00 AM:

LS. I am glad he is gone. It's about time. I know more than you think about the program and how players feel about playing under him. There's a good chance I know a whole lot more than you do.

 

Article Comment baseballparent commented at 6/18/2009 2:07:00 PM:

If Mrs Buckley is so concearned about all the kids why has she not been going to the ballgames. Could it be she is ashamed of herself. Even the former coach whose wife is Halford new secretary on the recomendation of the Dr, he is at the games. Now he is probally gotten rid of the knife he used on Coach Hester, but he can not get rid of the brown all over his face from Halford and the Doc. Maybe in time it will all go away. Maybe after the 2010 graduation

 

Article Comment LS commented at 6/18/2009 3:06:00 PM:

Didn't Sam I Am quit during the middle of the season a couple of years ago???? I know plenty about being a good team mate and I happened to learn very much from Coach Hester.

 

Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/18/2009 3:24:00 PM:

Look at all of the Hester supporters....they have about as much class as he does...which is none. You have to blame somebody for his firing so you come on here and start throwing around names. Do you actually think there was only one person that wanted him gone? Do you actually think that there was only one complaint? I think that makes a big statement that one of his own coaches didn't approve of the way he did things.

 

Article Comment baseballparent commented at 6/18/2009 5:21:00 PM:

As far as the other coach that didnot approve, what a joke. He use to stomp out to the mound a dog the pitcher's when they made a mistake pitch. Hester's way never baothered him until this year when his son was on the receiving end. But do you think his wife getting the job with Halford with Buckley's recomendation might have helped. Especially since she got it over 2 much more qualified applicants. Things that make you go HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!

 

Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/18/2009 5:34:00 PM:

I guess you can say he finally came to his senses like the majority of people have. That's why he's gone.

 

Article Comment msNHSfan commented at 6/18/2009 5:43:00 PM:

I find it interesting when mis-conduct of another coach at NH is discussed as a comparison it gets taken off of the forum.

 

Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/18/2009 5:47:00 PM:

What's all this talk about me quitting years ago? Who are you referring to exactly?

 

Article Comment baseballparent commented at 6/18/2009 10:36:00 PM:

I will call no names on who you are, but rest assured others and myself now know who you are.
You said too much and gave yourself away. Younger did not come to is senses, he got mad when the shoe got put on the other foot. And just like the rest of the parents could not stand the heat, so he did like the rest of the little baby parents, turned on the man.

 

Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/18/2009 10:39:00 PM:

You have no idea who I am, baseballparent. He came to his senses when he saw the real Hester. Everyone does who gets to see the real Hester. Why should players and parents have to take the heat? Why can't kids enjoy playing the game of baseball?

 

Article Comment Forrest G. commented at 6/18/2009 11:44:00 PM:

Hi, i'm from Greenbow Alabama.. What they did to Coach Hester was a load of freakin shrimp in my bucket. I hope he coaches at Greenbow High next year. The coach here just resigned and he left us new shoes. There our ruunning shoes, Coach said they take us anywhere!!

 

Article Comment Sam I Am commented at 6/19/2009 1:47:00 AM:

It is different when it's your kid. That's when people finally realize what kind of coach he is. Why are you bringing Coach Byrd into this? He doesn't have anything to do with the situation. If you want to spend your money in revenge for a man that probably doesn't give two cents about you, go ahead. That doesn't seem wise to me.

 

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