• 82°

Warrior Academy’s Trail of Tears

Warrior Academy has been under a watchful eye of the press for more than two months. Both the Demopolis Times and The Tuscaloosa News have carefully investigated the reports coming out of Eutaw.

Many of the reports have been confusing at times. But here at The Demopolis Times, we pride ourselves on getting the story our readers want, and more importantly, getting it right. The Demopolis Times has always made every effort to bring its readers the truth. And keeping with that tradition, I thought it was about time that we told the whole story.

Believe it or not, there are still many missing pieces in the Warrior puzzle. Some of those pieces have recently been discovered, while others may never. And with the Warrior battle now at cease-fire, perhaps now would be a good time to recap the events leading up to this point.

The following is a brief recap of events throughout the past four months at Warrior Academy.

April 2004 – Warrior Academy headmaster Jimmy Barlow along with Athletic Director and head football coach Rob Hall sign an AISA 2-year contract agreeing to fill a varsity football team over the next two years. Under AISA regulations, any school failing to carry out the provisions of that contract shall pay all other scheduled schools, which do so desire, a forfeit fee along with a $1,000 violation of contract fee to the AISA. (If perused, Warrior could pay out as much as $11,000 this year in fees).

June 25, 2004 – Warrior Academy Athletic Director and head football coach Rob Hall notifies Warrior headmaster Jimmy Barlow that he has decided to resign his position at Warrior to take the head football coaching position at Tuscaloosa Academy. Barlow immediately begins to make calls to find a new head coach. After nearly a week of calls and no prospects, Barlow seeks help from The Demopolis Times where the name Pierre Goode is tossed about.

July 1, 2004 – Warrior tentatively offers the head football coaching position left vacant by now Tuscaloosa Academy head football coach Rob Hall, to former John Essex head football coach Pierre Goode. Goode notifies Barlow that he will make a decision and have an answer for him by Monday, July 5.

July 1, 2004 – (7 p.m.) Barlow notifies the board of his decision to hire Goode. The board rejects his decision, stating they do not have the numbers or the funds to do so.

July 1, 2004 – (8:15 p.m.) Barlow calls the Demopolis Times wanting to stop the story from being printed. His concern is that the article will quote him as having the numbers to have a team, when in fact Warrior did not have the numbers.

July 2, 2004 – Barlow now looks to hire from within, and believes he has found a head coach in Warrior Assistant football coach Billy Skelton.

July 6, 2004 – Goode makes several attempts to reach Barlow at Warrior. Barlow is unreachable. Calls to Barlow were not returned.

July 7, 2004 – The head football coaching position remains open. Goode, who has still not given an answer, receives a return call from Barlow. Goode says that he needs more information on the schools current situation before he can give his answer. Barlow notifies Goode of the board’s decision and tells Goode to seek employment elsewhere.

July 8, 2004 – Skelton announces that he has taken another job at American Christian Academy.

July 8, 2004 – With no funds and no coach, Warrior is forced on Friday to do away with its varsity football program. The school now looks to fill a junior varsity football team for the fall, but again has the same problems as before.

July 9, 2004 – Barlow meets with Central Christian Academy’s Henry Moore (board president) in Selma for final interview, and accepts the headmaster position at CCA.

July 10, 2004 – Warrior announces decision to fill a junior varsity football program. Barlow announces his decision to take job at CCA. Three teaching positions remain vacant at Warrior, not to mention a headmaster, athletic director and junior varsity coaching position.

July 13, 2004 – Warrior elects new board members and announces its plans for the 2004-2005 school year, which include remaining a K-12 and filling varsity teams in boy’s and girl’s basketball, volleyball, softball, baseball and track.

July 14, 2004 – The AISA denies hardship to any Warrior Academy student-athlete wishing to transfer to another school.

July 19, 2004 – Warrior hires John Santoro III as its headmaster to replace Barlow.