• Bill Althaus: Floyd left Truman post on own terms

  • When I heard that Jeff Floyd had announced his resignation as the head football coach at Truman High School, the first thought that came to mind was that he was forced out because of his team's 1-9 record this past season.

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  • When I heard that Jeff Floyd had announced his resignation as the head football coach at Truman High School, the first thought that came to mind was that he was forced out because of his team's 1-9 record this past season.
    I am pleased to say that this passionate and caring coach, who helped Truman win just its second district title in the history of the school two short seasons ago, left on his own terms.
    “I was not pressured in any way,” the personable Floyd said after getting a weight-training class situated in the expanded Truman weight room.
    “If anything, it was just the opposite. I felt great support all season and postseason while I was making this decision from Eric (Holm, the Truman activities director and assistant coach), our principal, Kristel Barr, assistant superintendents, Dr. (Dale) Herl and Dr. (Jason) Dial, and our superintendent, Dr. (Jim) Hinson.”
    So why would a man who loves coaching, a man who has made a difference in the lives of so many young men and women he has worked with at Truman, walk away?
    The answer is simple.
    “I thought we made good progress in a number of areas in the program over the last three years, but there was a relatively small but significant piece of the puzzle that I did not figure out, or make good progress with.
    “One, the number of athletes in our program was not where it needed to be. Two, the commitment level in some of our athletes was not where I wanted it. Those two things were a source of frustration to me. I just thought it was time to give someone else a whack at figuring out that piece – maybe do a better job of connecting and motivating those athletes.”
    “It had nothing to do with wins and losses, conference titles or district crowns.”
    Passion is Jeff Floyd's middle name, and as he talked about that area where he was not able to “connect” with his players, I could sense the sadness in his eyes and the toll it took.
    When The Examiner ran a story of his resignation last week, with comments from Holm following a radio interview I did with the activities director for my Sonic Locker Room program, it was incorrectly added by an editor that Floyd did not respond to an interview request.
    At the time, Holm had conducted the only interview on the loss of his head football coach.
    Floyd wants to talk about the program, his future and how the Patriots can one day compete with the big boys in Eastern Jackson County.
    When Floyd states that he was not able to connect or motivate players in that one area, he does not want that comment to be a blanket statement that covers all Truman players.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We have a great deal of highly motivated players who are extremely dedicated, in football and all of the sports at Truman,” Floyd said. “But football is a little different animal.”
    With football you need a somewhat larger group of players who are equally motivated.
    And that simply wasn't the case at Truman.
    “And I found it frustrating dealing with that,” Floyd said softly, “and not being able to come up with a solution.”
    Truman is searching for a new coach, and Floyd said he will do everything possible to make his transition smooth and easy.
    “I won't be a member of his staff,” Floyd said when asked if that might be a possibility. “The new coach needs to come in and do the things he needs to do to help this team be successful. He doesn't need me hanging around.
    “But I do want to stay and teach at Truman. We have 300-some kids – boys and girls – come through the weight room on a daily basis. I like this school and I like this district, but I know that a coaching job and a teaching job are indirectly connected.
    “I've told Central Office that I will fill any role that they see fit to help the program, school and district.”
    The word from Central Office, before the start of this school year, was that high school coaches need to become more aware of what's taking place at the youth and middle school levels.
    “I know the administration wants our programs to be more competitive,” said Floyd, who was 0-10 his first season, 5-6 in the district championship season and 1-9 in 2012, “and they are working to help coaches achieve that goal.
    “Look at the Fort Osage model (where coach Ryan Schartz inherited a team that had lost 19 games in a row and has led the Indians to two Class 5 state championship appearances in the past four years). They have succeeded with similar demographics.”
    Floyd would never use injuries as an excuse for the Patriots’ record this past season, but he lost starting quarterback J.T. Hayes and wide receiver/defensive back/special team standout Tom Ruddy to early-season injuries.
    “Injuries are a part of football,” Floyd said, “but losing those two really left a hole in our team, not only on the field but leadership as well. Those two were like having coaches on the field for us. We missed them.”
    And Floyd will miss coaching.
    At least in this win-at-all-costs society, it's reassuring to know that Floyd was not solely judged on his team's success on the playing field.
    This man is a winner in life. And that's something that can never be measured on a scoreboard.

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