It happens at high schools programs across the country every year. Administration decides to not wait until the end of the year to let go a head coach, so they end up doing it during the season and naming someone on staff as interim head coach.
That’s kind of how the situation at David Crockett HS (TN) started off, but this story has a few unique twists and turns. In the span of a week, the Tennessee high school has named their THIRD head coach of the season, all taking place within a week, according to USA Today.
The year started off with former NFL safety Gerald Sensabaugh leading the program, and the team off to a solid 5-2 start, but about a week ago he was placed on indefinite administrative leave after being reprimanded for “verbal abuse of players,” according to the Johnson City Press. Sensabaugh fired back with claims of improprieties against the administration, leading to an ongoing investigation.
So with Sensabaugh out, and turmoil inside the team and school palpable, assistant coach Brandon Qualls was named interim head coach and given a directive from the administration to “unite” the team. But after a 35-13 loss later that week to Bristol HS (TN), Qualls allegedly made some comments that divided the team further, with some players questioning whether they wanted to play the rest of season out.
After that loss, administration decided to make another change as head coach, this time bringing in someone not currently on staff to take over the program for the rest of the year. Enter Nick Lingerfelt – a special education teacher at the school who was hired three months ago as head baseball coach who describes his limited football experience as the “get back coach, and bus driver” at previous stops during a conversation with a local TV station.
Making this story even more interesting, is upon being named head coach, Lingerfelt decided to keep just one of the current coaches on staff. Some of his baseball coaches will assist, as will a longtime friend of his that will commute to help out at practices and games.
Below is Lingerfelt’s interview with the local station after being named the team’s third head coach in a week. Lingerfelt does an outstanding job with the interview and stepping up in the face of tremendous adversity at the school.
“I just felt like, as a person, it was my responsibility to step up and say ‘Hey, if these kids want to play, I’ll be there. And if they decide not to, I’ll support them in that too.'”
“It’s not about me. It’s really not. It’s about these kids and they decided that they want to play, and they told me today that I was going to be their coach, so here I am.”
Lingerfelt’s first game this week will be against rival Daniel Boone HS (TN) in their annual Musket Bowl.