Published: 08:33 PM, Thu Apr 05, 2012
Vaughan: Terry Sanford coach Sam Guy shows class in face of adversity
There are few coaches as passionate about their sport as Terry Sanford's Sam Guy is about baseball.
But as is the case with all people of passion, that zeal can sometimes overwhelm good judgment, and Guy recently suffered the consequences of that.
Last month, he was ejected from a baseball game with Scotland High School. According to him, it was just the second time in his high school coaching career he's been sent to the sidelines by an official.
The N.C. High School Athletic Association has clear rules on handling ejections. Any coach kicked out of a game has to miss the next two games at that level.
The rule further states the coach is not to be at the game site during the period of the suspension.
Guy was fine with the first part of the rule, but says he wasn't clear about the last part.
So when Terry Sanford played a home game with Seventy-First while he was suspended, Guy thought it was okay to watch from a second-story classroom in the building that overlooks the Terry Sanford baseball field.
"I didn't coach,'' he said. "I just sat and watched.''
Shortly after that, he was shown a copy of a page from the NCHSAA Handbook.
He read the part about not being at the game site, and realized he was in violation. "I broke the rule and I needed to turn myself in,'' he said.
He reported what he had done to Terry Sanford principal David Haggerty. The school reported the violation to the NCHSAA. Guy was assessed a second two-game penalty, for a total of four games, and the school was fined.
School officials declined to reveal the amount of the fine, but according to the handbook it's $500 for that kind of offense. The fine is normally cut in half when the school self-reports.
Following the incident, Guy said he had a meeting with Terry Sanford athletic director Larry Tearry and the parents of his baseball players. "You need to be accountable,'' Guy said. "I taught my players that when I broke the rule, I turned myself in.''
Making the most of it
In spite of all the problems, the Bulldogs are enjoying a solid season. They enter the Easter break this weekend alone in first place in the Mid-South 4-A Conference standings.
But there have been other headaches for Guy. In the last few weeks, three players have left the team. One quit with Guy's blessing to pursue offseason training opportunities in another sport where he has a chance to earn a college scholarship.
The other two quit because they weren't getting the amount of playing time they felt they deserved.
Guy is an old-school baseball coach, and doesn't apologize for the decisions he's made about playing time. "Those that produce tend to get more playing time,'' Guy said. "Production is the key. When players produce, it makes it easy.
"What I strive for and what I tell them is make my job hard. Be competitive at practice. It's for you to bust your tail and get better.''
Guy has served his suspension, and has put the whole matter behind him.
"I'm going to coach them to the best of my ability, and we're going forward with the guys we have, no matter who that is,'' he said.
And they'll be going forward with a coach who's learned a valuable lesson about do's and don'ts of ejection, and who will be the wiser for it.
Scholastic sports editor Earl Vaughan Jr. can be reached at email@example.com or 486-3519.