Cloudland Head Coach Brock Pittman was as surprised as anyone when he got the news on Friday.
Pittman was relieved of his duties as football coach of the program that he had oversaw for four seasons. The coach, however, was left searching for answers.
“I asked a couple of times if there was a reason and there was no reason,” Pittman said. “The only response I got was that they wanted to go in a new direction.”
Pittman was informed of the decision on Friday.
“We decided to go in a different direction with the football team,” Cloudland principal Jonathan Fontanez said in a statement relayed to CarterCountySports.com.
“I fully support the decision of Kevin Ward (Director of Carter County Schools),” Cloudland School Board Member LaDonna Boone said when contacted on Friday night. “In my two years as school board member, he has always made the best decision for the benefit of the students.”
“I’ve never felt the need to micromanage Cloudland sports because that has always been a strength – my goal is to improve academics at Cloudland. If we have next steps to benefit Cloudland athletics, I’m all for the change because Cloudland students deserve the best. As a school board member, I will be sure our students get the best. I fully support Cloudland athletics as well as Dr. Ward’s decision. I rely on Dr. Ward’s expertise in sports as well as our community’s voice.”
After the meeting with administrators Pittman had one request which was to inform his team personally.
“It was difficult,” Pittman said of the team meeting. “I’ve always told them that anything happened rather it be me leaving, taking another job or anything that they would hear it from me first. That was the only request I had was the chance to meet with them one more time so they could hear it from me first.”
During the meeting, Pittman had one message for his former team.
“I just let them know how proud of them I was and what they accomplished over the last four years with me,” Pittman said. “I told those guys to keep working and doing what they are doing. There were several new kids in the room that wanted to play, and I encouraged them to keep lifting weights and keep going. I told them tough times never last but tough people do.”
During his tenure with the ‘Landers, Pittman recorded a 31-14 mark, four straight playoff appearances and the first region title in 11 seasons.
“These guys have been to four straight playoff appearances, won three sportsmanship awards in four years which says a lot for a group of guys that have been winning,” Pittman said. “I couldn’t have been more proud of them, and it couldn’t have went any better for me.
“You never know what being a head coach is like until you become a head coach,” Pittman added. “After that, you never know if the kids are going to respond to me, will they respect you and play hard for you. I think a lot of those questions were answered. Those kids played hard. I urged them to keep working.”
One thing after the announcement was that Pittman had support of his former players on social media.
“I have a relationship with those guys that no one else could possibly understand,” Pittman said. “They know that I care about them outside of football, and any one who wants to be a head coach needs to know that is the most important thing. I know I had made an impact on some peoples lives for the better. Having knowing that, that is all I can ask for rather they are former players or in the halls right now-I know I have made an impact on their lives.”
With the sudden news, Pittman isn’t for sure what the future holds.
“I am just going to stay positive and keep working,” Pittman said. “Good things will happen. I am looking forward to the future.”