How important is the distribution of state title rings? For one man, they were important enough to leave a job he was transforming into a pedestal.
As reported by AL.com, White Plains girls golf coach Marcus Harrell left the program he led to state titles in both 2015 and 2016 after the school refused to provide state title rings for the four girls who made up his “varsity B team,” a quartet of junior high athletes who had competed in a number of varsity team events, but failed to participate in the state championship tournament.
“These girls were practically our varsity B-team,” Harrell told AL.com. “They were our non-starters. These girls played in varsity tournaments, these girls played in the varsity county tournament, these girls competed in sectionals, and I turned them in as alternates (for the state tournament) in case an injury occurred.
“Your back-ups have the potential to play in the state tournament. … These kids mean the world to me, and have, as a team, worked so hard this year. It was a phenomenal year. I just felt it was the right thing to do, to stand up for those girls. The whole team deserved rings.”
White Plains Superintendent Joe Dyar claimed the disagreement stemmed from extending rings to athletes who still weren’t full high school students. In Dyar’s logic, “There is no incentive for a junior high athlete to work hard to accomplish varsity results.”
That’s clearly where the disconnect between the now-former coach and his administration lies. For Harrell, age was never a part of the equation. For White Plains officials, it was. Now the school will scramble to replace the coach who led a team to the only two state titles the school has ever known.