Chuck Williams: DuBose's hiring as Central coach started with a text

chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.comJune 2, 2014 

Editor's note: Chuck Williams altered this column after Lee Hicks' decision to remain as superintendent in Troy was reported late Monday.

Jamey DuBose’s journey to Central High School started with a text message from a member of the Phenix City Board of Education on Wednesday, May 21.

Woodrow Lowe had been out as football coach for two days when board member Rick Carpenter texted DuBose after getting the coach’s cell phone number from a friend.

“I just told him if he was interested in the Central job, give me a call,” Carpenter said.

The next day, DuBose called Carpenter.

Carpenter was fishing in baited waters, and they had DuBose in the boat in less than a week.

DuBose is a big catch. He’s won two Alabama 6A state championships since 2008 at Prattville High School. But since winning the state title, DuBose chased a bigger paycheck to Florence High in the northwest corner of the state, then landed at Charles Henderson High in Troy four months ago.

“During our conversation, he said he had told his superintendent and wife before he took the Charles Henderson job that there were three places in the state he would apply if the job came open,” Carpenter said.

Those three places were Central, Auburn High and Daphne High, Carpenter said.

Seven days from receiving Carpenter’s text, DuBose was the head football coach at Central. That is a week, and it included Memorial Day.

That is not wasting any time.

“He told me he really wanted the job,” Carpenter said.

Obviously, DuBose did. He took it without ever coaching a game at Charles Henderson, a smaller classification school.

Asked just before DuBose’s introduction on May 27 about how Central landed the coach so quickly, Principal Tommy Vickers said that DuBose contacted the school after the vacancy was published.

That is true — sort of. DuBose called Vickers after Carpenter pointed him in that direction.

“I told him I was not the one who hired the coach,” Carpenter said. “But I told him I could put him in touch with the right people. And I got him in touch with Tommy Vickers.”

Carpenter inserted himself in the process for one reason, he said.

“The bottom line is Woodrow Lowe is an absolute legend to me, but Woodrow Lowe was not our coach any more and our kids deserved to have a coach,” Carpenter said. “And they deserved to have the best coach they could have.”

All of this is repeated in great detail to discuss what was scheduled to happen Phenix City Tuesday night, but now won't.

The Board of Education was scheduled to interview Lee Hicks for the superintendent’s job, which has been vacant since the board and Larry DiChiara parted ways in late November.

That is not going to happen now because Hicks and the Troy school board agreed to a new four-year contract late Monday, according to a report in the Troy Messenger.

Even with Hicks out of the picture, a question remains. How did Hicks even surface as a candidate to be Phenix City superintendent?

He has a strong connection to DuBose. While DuBose was winning titles at Prattville High, Hicks was his principal. Hicks was the superintendent who lured DuBose back to south Alabama in January.

Carpenter and Board of Education Chairman Brad Baker say that DuBose did not bring up Hicks’ name to them last week.

But somebody did.

The Board was in the public interview process when it added Hicks as a candidate last Friday. Hicks was in Phenix City last Thursday and met individually with board members.

Draw your own conclusions.

Hicks was not in the picture until DuBose is hired as football coach. Then, bam, new football coach, new superintendent candidate.

Coincidence?

Troy City Schools Board of Education Chairman Wally Lowery, who was asked by a Troy Messenger reporter about Hicks’ interviewing in Phenix City, offered this insight before the contract extension.

“They want him,” Lowery said. “They have an aggressive board over there and they’re moving in a new direction. They’re going after people with graduation rates over 85 percent, strong athletic programs and districts moving in the right direction. They want what we have here in Troy.”

Baker said what Lowery said “makes perfect sense.”

“We want the best,” he said.

Looks like Troy did, too.

Chuck Williams, senior editor for content, chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.com.

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