Winning call

More times than not, a coach’s success is measured by the number of wins.
For some schools, especially those which accumulate more Ls than Ws, that can mean a revolving door for coaches, a lack of continuity in sports programs and, worse, losing excellent mentors simply because they don’t win enough.
But the latter won’t happen in Vanlue now that its school board stepped up and retained Chris Yeater as the school’s football coach for the 2014-15 school year.
Yeater’s coaching contract had not been renewed after the football team ended last season with an 0-10 record.
But that’s standard procedure in most school districts, because it gives school boards a chance for athletic directors, principals and superintendents to evaluate a coach before deciding to rehire or not.
Certainly, it didn’t look good for Yeater, who is now 4 and 36 in his four years at Vanlue, when Superintendent Rod Russell indicated he wouldn’t recommend rehiring him.
But several residents and football parents spoke up at a December meeting in favor of keeping Yeater, and no one spoke in favor of dismissing him.
Since then, the momentum has continued with the community rallying around the coach. Public support was so overwhelming, the board may have been run out of the village if it didn’t make the right call Monday.
Even Russell changed his mind about Yeater, saying he supported the board’s decision.
Clearly, Yeater, who has said he considers coaching the Wildcats a “dream job” and a long-term project, deserved another season, at least.
Yeater’s commitment to Vanlue would be hard to ignore. Football coaches aren’t exactly lining up to take over a program that hasn’t had a winning season in 50 years. But even if they were, Yeater is still the right man for the job.
Who better to lead Vanlue youth than someone who wants to win, but who also understands there are more important lessons to learn on Friday nights?
Vanlue, one of the smallest schools in the state to play the sport, had just 18 boys out for football last season, but 30 boys have already signed up to participate this year.
The wins will never come easy, but the support for Yeater and the fight he showed to remain as coach should motivate Vanlue football players to keep working hard regardless of the score.
The community should count the school board’s unanimous vote and Superintendent Russell’s turnaround as the team’s first win.


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