Bullock is Anniston’s interim head coach, not its permanent head coach. He has a one-year contract.
So, to recap activities of recent weeks: Anniston’s search team conducted seven interviews. Superintendent Joan Frazier chose three finalists and conducted her own interviews.
Now, Anniston has an interim coach.
And in case anyone hadn’t noticed, that’s essentially what Anniston had before Tuesday’s board meeting. Bullock was overseeing summer workouts.
Now, Bullock goes forward with something less than a mandate, something less than a rousing show of support from the folks who approved the firing of his predecessor and former boss, Alex Wilson, after the completion of spring practice.
Bullock goes forward in a community still flummoxed over Wilson’s firing, which showed at Tuesday’s meeting. Erica Tolson-Turner spoke at about her concerns and, she said, those of others that Anniston schools let too many good people get away.
As if the politics of replacing Wilson wasn’t enough, Bullock faces angst from some in Anniston High circles that ex-Bulldogs coach Rodney Bivens pulled out of the search at the 11th hour, saying he couldn’t work out certification issues for the staff he wanted.
Now add the “interim” tag and all of the uncertainty that comes with it, and what a way to treat an alum and loyal employee.
What a way to treat someone who has coached multiple sports for years, including five years as a member of the football staff under myriad head coaches.
Bullock even washes the uniforms, a labor of love that quite possibly caused a scary MRSA infection on his nose.
Credit board member William Robison for objecting on Tuesday. He pointed out that an interim title is redundant with a one-year contract, and that Bullock needed more “backing” than that.
That led to board vice president Mary Harrington revealing that she had to have the word “interim” in Bullock’s title to vote for his promotion. She said she knows it’s controversial but insisted she’s acting out of concern for kids on the team and her constituents in Ward 3.
“When I ask questions like that, in which I did, ‘interim’ means that you are still looking for the best until the best is proven,” she said after Tuesday’s meeting.
She said the word ‘interim’ is not a “death threat” and cited Frazier, who once was the interim superintendent.
“Interim doesn’t mean he’s any less of a person or he’s doing to do any less of a job,” she said.
It just means Bullock must carry the “interim” tag while others tag him as the second choice after a controversial firing.
Some will raise more questions about the decision to fire a coach after spring practice. The timing likely limited the field of candidates, and now Anniston has an “interim” coach.
While reasons for Wilson’s firing remain undisclosed, perhaps board member William Hutchings unwittingly shed light Tuesday.
“I don’t care what kind of head coach you get, the head coach never gets bigger than the principal and the superintendent,” he said after lauding Bullock’s temperament and the perseverance of school officials amid a controversial coaching transition.
“You’ve got to work with everybody,” Hutchings said. “You’ve got to work with your staff, and you’ve got to have that.”
Bullock seems to have strengths needed for the task. He comes off as a humble guy who plays well with adults, and no one questions that he relates well to kids.
He has coached Anniston’s girls’ basketball team to state-level glory, and he’s been a constant in the football pro-gram as head coaches have come and gone.
Anniston’s football players, who were emotional after Wilson’s firing, endorsed Bullock publicly.
That’s a nice wind for Bullock to have at his back.
It’s just too bad about the headwind of an “interim” in his title. It’s the last thing Anniston’s new coach needed, especially under the circumstances.
Joe Medley is The Star’s sports columnist. He can be reached at 235-3576 or email@example.com.