The mystery of healing is that there’s no defined time frame for it to happen.
There can be no doubt Carroll’s volleyball program is fractured and in dire need of healing. A celebrated 2013 season that culminated in a 48-2 record and trip to the Class 5A state tournament should have created the energy and enthusiasm for the players and coaches to work this offseason on the final steps needed to win a state championship in 2014.
Behind the scenes, there seemed to be more tension and angst from everyone within and connected to it.
Two months after the season ended, head coach Arthur Stanfield is out. Carroll is looking for his replacement.
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Whatever Carroll officials learned over the last two months gave them the justification to make the move. You just don’t fire someone coming off an incredible season without there being something tangible there. Carroll athletic director Kevin Ozee gave Stanfield the news at lunch on Jan. 14.
Stanfield, 59, is an old-school type of coach. His style is not for everybody. And his legions of supporters are countered by his opponents. He called the 2013 season of the most difficult in his career. It probably was for everybody.
“It just came down there were some people in the volleyball community who weren’t happy,” Stanfield.
Stanfield said he would have liked to have stayed on for one more year to try and resolve the unrest. But sometimes you can’t undo what apparently occurred. That appears to be the conclusion Ozee came to before he made this difficult decision. Stanfield didn’t agree with it, but he respected it.
Still, this needed to be the time for Ozee to step up and be the front man. After all, his head coaches report to him. When the word first broke that Stanfield was out, it came from Stanfield, not Carroll.
It shouldn’t have.
Given that Carroll is in the continuous high school athletics spotlight and that Stanfield’s stature in high school athletics is historic, there should have been a statement released Wednesday afternoon moments after Stanfield told his team. It would have looked like any release, with a benign statement from Ozee using the “going in another direction” line and thanking Stanfield for bringing Carroll volleyball to a championship level.
So when every media outlet reached out to Ozee, there was no response. It took until Thursday morning for the media to get a statement from the district’s public information office. Very odd.
Carroll volleyball will move on. Stanfield will move on. He can stay on as a U.S. history teacher. He can retire early and coach club. He may leave volleyball behind permanently. He said he hasn’t decided.
Now, the next chapter for Carroll volleyball will be for Ozee and a potential selection committee to find a person whose personality will be a stark contrast to Stanfield. This person needs to be someone who can navigate his or her way through all of the personalities, have the track record of success and can earn the trust of the players.
Carroll’s athletic mission to drive for success in any sport is at the forefront. The student-athletes carry the will and external support. The new coach will inherit a program where every young lady wants to succeed at the highest level. Motivating them should not be a problem.
The healing for this program is in its infancy. Time will govern when it is complete.