JOHNSON: PLAS athletics in delicate situation

Published 10:55 pm Monday, June 11, 2012

In a time when Pike Liberal Arts should be celebrating a successful school year and athletic season, the institution finds itself searching for an athletic director and football coach.

It is a search prompted by former AD Steven Kilcrease’s decision to take an assistant coaching and teaching position at Lee-Scott Academy in Auburn.

While the decision and reasons for Kilcrease’s departure are completely his own, one must wonder why a coach with deep roots in Troy that has built a successful program would suddenly leave for a position of lesser importance.

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Pike Liberal Arts’ athletic program, thanks in large part to Kilcrease, surfaced from the basement of the AISA to win six state championships in various sports in his five seasons as athletic director. The program before this point could be called, at least, “dead in the water.”

The process of finding a replacement will be a tricky one for the Pike administration. With varsity football participation already expected to drop due the graduation of 22 members of last year’s squad, the school can ill afford to shift into reverse.

Kilcrease steadied the Patriots athletic program and built a strength training and off-season workout program the school had never experienced before and the payoff was great.

Two football titles, two golf championships, and trophies in girl’s basketball and baseball all came under Kilcrease’s guidance and direction.

Not to say the next athletic director can not continue this success, but a look into school’s the past shows choosing the wrong person could have disastrous effects.

Personal opinion aside, numbers show Pike already had the perfect man for the job. The challenge now will be to find the next to perfect person and hope things work out.

It will, without a doubt, be an interesting summer for the Patriots.