By Dwayne Culpepper, Staff Writer
A large group of Lanier County High baseball players, parents and students went to a called Lanier County Board of Education meeting Monday night in an effort to keep the head baseball coach. It appears they succeeded.
The called meeting was held to consider coaching assignments for the next school term. The school board did not approve the coaching assignments at their regular monthly meeting on April 12, with the baseball coaches being the apparent issue. At Monday’s called meeting, after a lengthy executive session, the board approved a motion to keep all the head coaches, including LCHS baseball head coach Michael Sneed. They did not pass, on a 3-2 vote, a motion to approve the baseball assistant coaches.
After an invocation and pledge to allegiance, the agenda for the called meeting, held at the Threatte Center, was approved.
Then came public comments with three signing up to speak. Each person had three minutes to speak and say what was on their minds. First up was Lanier County High junior baseball player Jacob Faircloth, who spoke in favor of retaining Sneed and the current baseball coaches. He asked if any students there felt the same way, and if so, that they join him at the podium. Close to 25 students joined behind him, mostly players who were going to bat for their coach.
Faircloth spoke of how Sneed had given them a strong work effort and of his leadership of the team. He asked how many players would not be on the team if Sneed was not the coach next year and most indicated they wouldn’t be.
The second speaker was parent Jerry Roberts, who also expressed support of Sneed and the current baseball staff. He noted that the baseball program has been inconsistent due to having six different head coaches over the last seven years.
“We’ve got to do what’s best for the kids,” he said. “We can’t put personal issues first.”
Parent Brian North was the last speaker, saying he took his children out of the Lanier County School System for three years due to politics in the system, and asked that they keep the current baseball coaching staff in place and “not play politics.”
Upon returning from the executive session, there was a motion to replace a rooftop air conditioning unit on the gym, which was seconded and approved.
The next thing was the retirements, resignations, FY 22 transfers/new assignments with worked-based learning/CTAE Director and Special Education Director. All of these were motioned, seconded, and approved.
There was some confusion that took place as two motions were on the table at the same time, as the prior motion wasn’t approved and voted on before the second motion was called. BOE member Denny Fender thought it had been voted, but was only seconded. Once this was brought to his attention, he retracted his motion until the previous one was approved. He then made his previous motion again in which he asked for a motion for the FY 22 coaching assignments, which started with all head coaches. This was seconded and all voted yes and it was approved.
Next on the list was approval of assistant coaches in all sports and all were approved unanimously, except baseball, which failed 2-3, with Fender and Chairman Randy Sirmans voting in favor, and board members Phillip Connell, Jammie Cook, and Erlish Locklear voting against.
There was a call for discussion, but there was none, so the motion carried without approval of the assistant coaches for baseball. After that vote, a call for adjournment was made and the meeting ended.
The day after the meeting, the school board scheduled another called meeting, set for Thursday, April 29. That meeting was later cancelled.
The board will meet next at their scheduled work session on Thursday, May 6, and regular meeting on Monday, May 10, at 7 p.m. at the Threatte Center. The meeting is open to the public.