Valdosta High School, which has the nation’s winningest football program, will not be welcoming back its head coach for next season.
Valdosta dropped a 57-15 decision to crosstown rival Lowndes last weekend. Wildcats coach Rick Tomberlin was told late Tuesday his contract would not be renewed for the 2010 season by Valdosta City Schools Superintendent Bill Cason, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.
“I’m in shock,” Tomberlin told the Valdosta newspaper. “I did everything I could do here. I’ve never worked harder in my life. I haven’t missed many days of school. I’ve made some wonderful friends here. A lot of people have been very kind to me. I think I’m leaving (the program) a lot better than it was when I got here.”
Tomberlin was given the option of resigning immediately or finishing out the season. He has decided to stay on with the Wildcats, who are 4-3 and still have a chance of earning a berth in the Class AAAAA playoffs. Tomberlin’s dismissal still must go through several other steps, including a vote by the board of education. However, the rest of the process is considered to be a mere formality.
“I want to finish the season … I don’t want to quit on my kids. I owe it to them, and love them, and I want to see them through whatever happens, whether it’s the end of the regular season, or the end of the playoffs, whether it’s three games, five games, eight games, whatever the case may be,” Tomberlin told the Valdosta paper.
“I’m really going to work hard these next three games. Nothing’s going to change. I’m going to help these kids all I can with scholarships and colleges.”
Tomberlin is 19-20 at Valdosta, including a 1-9 mark in his first season at the school in 2006. Tomberlin was hired away from Washington County, where he coached for 14 years and won three state championships.
Since 1913, Valdosta has won six mythical national championships and 23 state championships. The Wildcats have an overall record of 838 wins, 191 losses and 34 ties.
So what do YOU think? Did Valdosta pull the trigger too soon on Tomberlin? Or do you think he had already been given a fair chance to prove his value?
And will Valdosta — which won its last state championship in 1998 — ever be able to return to its glory days?