Recently, I was surprised to learn of PHS’s decision to relieve the head football coach and am concerned about the future of the program. Our sons played for three different coaches from 2016-2021 and Coach Johnson was outstanding. I was the JV and varsity Team Parent and worked closely with each coach and was grateful that Coach Johnson provided stability and leadership during the last three seasons. He was knowledgeable, student-centered, patient, and inspirational. We appreciate Coach Johnson’s dedication to our community and are dismayed with the way he was treated.
Football was truly the highlight of our family’s high school experience and the most valuable growth experience for our sons. They learned discipline, teamwork, leadership, how to overcome disappointment, and humility. Today, a new group of players have the opportunity to play under the lights at Witter Field and parents have the opportunity to share in the Highlander pride of a 100+ year tradition.
We hope that the Piedmont community recognizes the value of the football program to the development of young players from flag football in middle school to the JV and varsity teams. Each team is a developmental milestone and players should aspire to play at the highest level for their ability. The thought of discontinuing the varsity team is not only disappointing to the current upperclassmen but also implies that younger players aren’t good enough to carry on the tradition of sophomores on varsity. Our experience shows that with the right coaching, discipline/physical conditioning, encouraging parents, and a supportive administration, the varsity team will continue to teach valuable lessons to our players.
I sincerely hope this discussion about the future of the football program moves to: hiring a head coach, recruiting players, and scheduling the off-season workout schedule. Let’s move forward with confidence and conviction.
Mary Alice McNeil
PHS alumna and parent of two PHS alums:
– Billy McNeil, Class of 2020
– Tommy McNeil, Class of 2021