School may not run at Warrior

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 9, 2004

Warrior Academy’s rollercoaster ride to replace former head football coach and Athletic Director Rob Hall is at full speed, twisting and turning into one of the biggest controversy’s to have ever risen at the 39-year old private institution.

Though a coach was found, an offer was made and a verbal commitment was given to the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA), Warrior Academy remains without a head football coach and athletic director, and according to Head Master Jimmy Barlow, the mighty Braves of Warrior Academy may have met their General Custer.

“I don’t see a way under the sun that we are going to be able to have an athletic program at Warrior Academy,” Barlow said. “Things around here are changing by the hour. Just this morning it looked like everything was fine, and that we would be able to have a football team this fall. But as of this afternoon that has changed.”

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With things changing so rapidly at Warrior, neither Barlow nor the AISA are sure what is really going on in Eutaw.

“I notified the AISA Thursday morning by phone that we would have a football coach and be able to fill a team come this fall. But as of now, I don’t even know if we are going to be able to have a school, much less an football team.”

AISA Athletic Director Don Hand said that he had spoken with Barlow, but still did not have anything in writing from Warrior Academy and at the present time the AISA must assume that Warrior will have a football program come this fall.

“The July 1, deadline was established by the AISA so that if Warrior Academy could not fill a team, we would have enough time to arrange schedules with our 49 other schools with football programs, to limit the number of open dates that kind of situation would create,” Hand said. “I did speak with Mr. Barlow regarding the situation, but until I receive a written letter stating that Warrior Academy will not be able to support a football team this year, I have assume that they will have a team.”

Barlow, who had previously extended the head coaching position to former John Essex Head Football coach Pierre Goode, said that he spoke with coach Goode Thursday morning and advised him to seek employment elsewhere.

“When I extended the offer to coach Goode, I was under the impression that we had the finances to hire him,” Barlow said. “Since that time I have discovered that we do not have those finances, nor do we have enough players to fill the team. When I spoke with coach Goode on Thursday I notified him of our current situation and did advise him that if he had other offers on the table to consider taking one.”

But Warrior’s problems run deeper than the status of its football program, for Barlow also stated that though he doesn’t believe the school will shut its doors anytime soon, he does see a significant change on the horizon.

“I don’t believe we will close our doors,” Barlow said. “We may have to cut back to a K-6 school, then again we may be able to remain as a K-12 school. But either way we go we know this, we will not have a football team this coming season.”

As far as other sports at Warrior are concerned, Barlow said that if the board decides to remain a K-12 school, their will be a boy’s and girl’s basketball program thanks to volunteer coach Robert Jarvis, but all other sports are still questionable.

“I don’t know about baseball at this time,” Barlow said. “But if we are to remain a K-12 school coach Jarvis has agreed to coach both the boy’s and girl’s programs this year.”

Those questions should all be answered today when Warrior Academy announces their official decision regarding the up and coming school year.