MURFREESBORO — Philip Shadowens will not attend a parent-called meeting tonight in support of reinstating the former Blackman football coach.
Shadowens told The Daily News Journal he believes the meeting, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. today at the National Guard Armory at 2350 Armory Drive, is to enable parents and kids a chance to show their appreciation for his six years as coach.
“I think it is their way to show they appreciate what has happened the last six years at the school,” said Shadowens, 47. “I love the kids there. But at the same time, the principal of any school has the ability to do anything with coaches that they choose to do.”
Shadowens said on Thursday that despite resigning as coach, Blackman first-year principal Leisa Justus “made it perfectly clear she didn’t want me there.”
He added, “They want to go in a different direction.”
Justus declined comment on whether Shadowens was asked to resign in an email to The DNJ, referring only to her original comments in a press release sent last week announcing Shadowens’ resignation.
Shadowens coached at Blackman the past six seasons, amassing a 59-17 record and making the Class 6A playoffs each year. The school made the state semifinals in 2013 for the first time in school year.
“I appreciate the fact that the kids love me and know I love them,” Shadowens said. “I think at this point there is nothing they can do to rectify the situation in their minds.
“But I don’t want this to be about me. People that know me know it’s always has been about the kids. I want it to continue to be that way. I know that God has a plan for Philip Shadowens and his family.”
Shadowens compiled a 179-78 record in 21 years as a head coach in Rutherford County, spending 14 years at Smyrna High, his alma mater, and a year at Middle Tennessee Christian School before replacing Bobby Wells at Blackman prior to the 2009 season.
He won 5A state championships at Smyrna in 2006 and 2007 with quarterback Sonny Gray and receiver Rodiguez Wilks. Gray is now a starting pitcher for the Oakland A’s. Wilks, a former Mr. Football winner, went on to play at Tennessee.
Shadowens also coached two Mr. Football winners at Blackman — current MTSU running back I’Tavius Mathers and Tennessee freshman Jauan Jennings.
Shadowens told The Daily News Journal on Feb. 13 that he resigned because of difference “in philosophies” with Justus. He did not resign as a teacher from the school.
“We simply don’t agree,” Shadowens told the DNJ last week. “Our philosophies are way different. It is not one thing.
“It’s how we hire coaches and how we run a program. I’ve been doing it for 21 years. Her philosophy is completely different than mine. And she has that choice as the principal.
“But I have a different idea on how to manage a program. It’s always been about the kids, not the adults. That’s how we’ve ran this program.”
Justus confirmed in last week’s press release that Shadowens resigned because of a difference of opinion with her.
Shadowens has not yet been given a job transfer as of Thursday afternoon, Rutherford County Schools spokesman James Evans confirmed in an email.
Justus said she plans to form a search committee “consisting of a variety of stakeholders” in finding a replacement for Shadowens.
“The committee will be charged with conducting a wide and thorough search to identify the very best candidate that exemplifies Blackman’s tradition of distinction,” Justus said in a release.
Justus said in an email Thursday that the school will immediately begin searching for its next football coach.
Contact Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Kreager.