It’s a cliche, but it’s true.
Coaches are hired to be fired, brought in to be run out of town as soon as they don’t win enough. The lucky few may get to go out on their own terms. Most don’t.
Many get shown the door after a season or two, many bounce from job to job, always looking for a better gig.
A few stick around a while. Jim Walsh Jr. stuck around for 19 years at Bradwell Institute, giving of himself and his family, his time and his money.
Walsh never spoke of the things he’d do for kids away from the field, but anyone who followed the program closely knew the deal. Walsh gave without trumpets.
Still, in recent years BI wasn’t very good at football. And isn’t that what it’s supposed to be all about?
So, the reality of the business has come home to roost, the refrain so familiar Walsh said it himself, “Coaches are hired to be fired.”
Yet Walsh, the son of one of the best coaches in Georgia prep football history, should have no trouble landing another coaching job if he decides to leave BI. His resume is still impressive. The Georgia High School Football Historians Association website says the former Benedictine and University of South Carolina standout is 137-127 in 26 years of coaching, even if wins have been increasingly harder to come by.
In fairness to Walsh, the reasons are manifold and complex. Some may lie within his control, others are harder to figure. Both Bradwell and Liberty County are competing at a disadvantage as long as they don’t have a feeder system. Add in the transient nature of the community and consider that more military families are choosing to live in nearby Richmond Hill, where their sons are playing football. Anyone who thinks the Wildcats’ rise to local football prominence and BI’s struggles are merely coincidence isn’t getting the whole picture.
But that’s another story, something for the next BI coach to have to deal with. In the meantime, maybe Walsh will decide to take a break. Maybe he’ll go home early and putter in a garden, go fishing or play golf, spend time with Becky and the kids, maybe even go to Disney World. He’s earned a vacation.