PCA faces uncertain offseason

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 2, 2004

[5/31/04]Porters Chapel’s football program will be working hard on two fronts this summer in the weight room, preparing for next season, and in the conference room, trying to find the school’s next coach.

The death of head coach Bubba Mims on May 16 left a void at the top of the program. A large, talented crop of underclassmen were expected to begin their rise to the varsity level next season and hopes were high for a playoff berth.

Instead, PCA’s football program finds itself at a crossroads. Will the school stay in-house and promote one of the assistants on the staff? Or will it find another coach who will take the program in a new direction and, hopefully, to new heights?

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“We’re looking for the right guy,” PCA headmaster Gwen Reiber said. “We have a very solid assistant coaching staff, and we’re not looking for just anybody to throw into that position.”

So far, Reiber said she had interviewed several candidates from outside the program. She and Mims, who was the school’s athletic director, also had interviewed several people for an assistant coaching position before Mims’ passing.

The deadline for finding a new coach is July 1, Reiber said, when teaching positions for the 2004-05 school year would need to be filled. If a suitable candidate is not found by then, an interim coach would likely be named for next season.

“July 1 is the target date, but if we get to late June and if we don’t have anybody by then we’ll look to promote someone from within on an interim basis,” Reiber said. “We’re getting calls from people that are at another school but looking to come into this position, because Porters Chapel is perceived to be a good situation … I’m confident we’ll find the right man for the job. Whether we find him before the 2004-2005 season remains to be seen.”

PCA’s search is being made more difficult by the timing of the situation. Mims’ death came suddenly, and late in the school year. By now, many coaches who are looking to change jobs have already accepted positions for next year.

Mims also wore a lot of hats at PCA. In addition to his football and athletic director duties, he coached the school’s powerlifting and golf teams. Add in the already-vacant assistant football coaching job, and there are suddenly several jobs to be filled instead of just one.

Reiber is serving as interim athletic director, and she said that position may be combined with the head football coaching position when a new coach takes over.

Finally, there is the issue of how PCA’s players will respond to a new coaching style. Many of them have never played for anyone but Mims. He coached the school’s peewee team before becoming head coach midway through the 2000 season, and most of the freshmen and sophomores on the way up have been under his tutelage since grade school.

Finding the right person to step into such a delicate situation might be the most difficult task of all, Reiber said.

“As we are interviewing candidates, we have discussed that,” she said. “Sensitivity is very important, and we are asking them how would you approach a situation like this?'”