Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame and AHSAA Hall of Fame coach Raymond White is no longer the head boys basketball coach at Carroll High School.
Ozark City Schools Superintendent Dr. Rick McInturf confirmed to the Dothan Eagle late Friday night that White’s contract services were “not extended” for the 2020-21 season.
White was coaching at Carroll under a contract service agreement, allowing him to maintain his retirement. A contract service agreement is not uncommon among teachers and coaches as means of a limited outside income for less than half a day’s work at a school to supplement their retirement check.
White had two afternoon classes, one with basketball players, and led the boys basketball team after school in practice and games.
“We have not extended his contract for another year,” McInturf said on Friday night. “It is simply a move to get the basketball program back under a full-time staff member. It is really inconvenient, inefficient and very expensive to run a contract coach in a major sport.
“It is not that they don’t do a good job or anything like that, but you really don’t have the control that you need as they are not on campus until late in the afternoons. They don’t have the opportunity to interact with the staff and keep up with their players.”
White, the fourth winningest coach in Alabama High School Athletic Association history with 808 victories in a 44-year coaching career, guided Carroll the last two years after coming out of retirement following a year off. He directed Barbour County for 17 years prior to his retirement, leading three state championship teams with the Jaguars.
Officially, the Eagles went 12-47 under White, including a 4-27 record this year that was marred by 19 forfeits for two separate ineligible player issues. Carroll was 23-8 on the court.
McInturf said the issues from this past season had nothing to do with the decision to not rehire White.
“My response to that would be, ‘pretty much zero,’” McInturf said when asked if the past season had any impact. “We got near that point last year (to not rehire him), but we didn’t and we brought him back for another year. Really, it didn’t have much to do it with it (this past season) at all, but the desire with any of those major sports to have that person be a staff member.”
White, when reached Saturday, said that McInturf’s reasoning was news to him.
The coach said he was informed by Carroll principal Andrea Maness and assistant principal Brad Barton in a teleconference on April 16 that he would not be rehired and was informed officially in a letter from McInturf by mail the following day.
As like any employee under contract services, White’s job employment is through the administration and doesn’t require any board action.
“I was told that my services were no longer needed and that they were going in another direction,” White said. “My response was, ‘What do you mean you are going in another direction?’ And they said, ‘It is just that. We are going in another direction.’
“I said I understand that, but ‘Why?’ The answer was, ‘We are going in another direction.’ That was all that I was told. The next day I received a letter from the superintendent, saying I would not be rehired. It didn’t explain anything.”
White added, “Nobody has told me anything other than that they were going in another direction. That is where I am at.”
After being told by the Dothan Eagle about McInturf stating it was about having a “full-time staff” member in charge of the program, White was puzzled.
“You have more than myself on teacher retirement contracts (at Carroll),” White said. “One of the drivers’ education teachers is teaching part-time. The head girls basketball coach doesn’t teach at Carroll. He teaches at Mixon (Intermediate School). You take Mrs. Maness’ husband (an assistant football coach), he doesn’t teach at Carroll. He teaches at D.A. Smith (Middle School). The soccer coach (Kirke Adams) who is a lawyer in town is not there. He is basically the soccer coach.”
White said the lack of communication and the decision itself not to rehire him has been tough to take.
“I am very disappointed,” White said.
When asked by the Dothan Eagle if he thought the ineligible players and forfeits might have played a role in his release, White turned to another direction.
“They were not expecting basketball to be successful,” White said. “I am saying they don’t want basketball to be successful for the things that I have seen done, not just this year but the previous year as well.
“One thing led to another thing to another. I really don’t think they wanted to be or thought we would be successful.”
Prior to White’s arrival, Carroll boys basketball had only four winning records in 18 seasons. This past year’s team, had it retained all 23 wins, would have been winningest team since 2001.
“They had a very satisfactory year the first year and obviously a great winning year last year until we ran into the eligibility problems,” McInturf said. “He did a good job on the court and he knows basketball. That is why he is a hall of fame coach.”
Carroll had to initially forfeit 17 games for violation of the AHSAA’s bona fide move involving a transfer. A couple of weeks later, the school had to forfeit two more wins when it was learned another player had not been placed on the official state C2C roster.
The school posted an advertisement for the boys basketball coaching opening on the AHSAA Classifieds website this past Wednesday at 9 a.m. referring all resumes and a letter of interest be sent to Barton, the assistant principal.
Because of the current school shutdown in the state because of the COVID-19 pandemic, McInturf said the interview process might be a slow one and felt a hire was probably not likely for the May 14 Ozark City School Board of Education meeting, but more probable for June.
The superintendent indicated there were teaching openings for a physical education and a health teacher at Carroll High School that could be used in a hire.