|UC coach gift a real bargain |
|During the time of year when the words some assembly required strikes fear into the hearts of most men, Barry Duncan has masterfully put together something that could possibly provide years of enjoyment and entertainment. |
And there’s no need for batteries.
Correctly assuming the kids on his list were indeed deserving, the Union City High School principal shopped a month or so for a new head football coach in the purple and gold colors of his alma mater. He ultimately decided on something practical, yet hard to find.
With the OK from Director of Schools Gary Houston, Duncan has accessorized the hiring of Darren Bowling as the new man in charge of the Tornadoes with a second gift in the addition of another well-respected person of equal high-quality character and coaching skills.
Wes Kennedy not only also possesses those aforementioned traits but also is reputed to be an excellent classroom teacher. Like Bowling, he intends on making Union City his home — not just his workplace — adamant on being both visible and approachable throughout the year and not just this particular time on the calendar or any other season.
Both Bowling and Kennedy were plucked from the top shelf on the main isle in what is becoming a smaller and smaller selection of quality choices in their profession.
Either/or would have been an ideal present enough for a program that is in dire need of something shiny and new. Getting both means UCHS made a big haul of loot.
Once one of the more decorated houses on the football block, the Twisters have had few trimmings around their tree in the past half-dozen years — except for the 2005 season when they finished as Class A state runnersup.
In those other five years, UC has posted a 24-30 record, unacceptable by once-proud standards and certainly not on Santa’s or anybody else’s “good” list.
That once-upon-a-time and for nearly two decades in the 1980s and ’90s Union City had some of the merriest of seasons seems like a distant memory since there’s been far more coal in UC’s stocking than what was once the case in the storied program’s best of times.
The typical man, Duncan ignored following traditional instructions when assembling his offering to be the Tornadoes’ new coach.
There were some picked-over other possibilities for him to choose from and some other oldies-but-goodies that haven’t necessarily gone out of style but were determined not to be the long-term solution to what the Tornado program needs for both now and then.
And while it might’ve been easier to select either one of those old standbys or go with a jazzier trendy pick, Duncan did extensive homework on all the most serious candidates before determining that Bowling and Kennedy would be perfectly boxed and wrapped for Union City fans. He correctly determined that many of the things the two new Twister coaches stand for and bring to the table will withstand both the test of time and flame-out fashions.
As usual, the cost of such shopping when selecting such high-quality gifts was a concern for the Union City powers-that-be who’ll be footing the bill for the system’s new hires. The best of bargain hunters would be proud to note, however, that Duncan’s spree came at a discount from the going market rate for coaches as neither will make quite as much on the Tornado sidelines as they did at Dyersburg.
This isn’t a case of one-size-fits-all either. Substance is far more important than style.
And for those impossible-to-please people on the list who’ll insist Bowling is a form of re-gifting for his time at Obion Central, Duncan will be quick to remind them it was that four-year stint in which the then-Rebel skipper not only competed, but won with inferior talent against more-talented competition that made his choice more desirable.
Just in time for Christmas, Duncan is betting this is one gift Union City fans won’t want to return.