Dinthill’s dilemma

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & .COMMENTARY - Orville Hig­gins is s sportscaster and talk­show-host at KLAS ESPN Sports FM. Email feed­back to col­umns@glean­erjm.com and col­umns@glean­erjm.com.

NO MAT­TER how you look at it, the state of af­fairs of Dinthill Tech­ni­cal’s foot­ball pro­gramme can be de­scribed as noth­ing but messy. In­deed, the fi­asco has spread its ten­ta­cles and there are more far-reach­ing im­pli­ca­tions.

I was the one who broke the story on ra­dio that Kevin ‘Sense’ Wil­liams had been fired as coach of Dinthill. I have spo­ken pub­licly to both Wil­liams and man­ager An­dré Hines, the man who gave him the march­ing or­ders. Both men had a lot to say, and nei­ther minced words.

Ac­cord­ing to Wil­liams, the man­ager has been a per­sis­tent dis­rup­tive force, ever too will­ing to wield his in­flu­ence and al­ways look­ing to un­der­mine him. If you lis­ten to Mr Hines, the coach is con­stantly rude and doesn’t show the re­quired re­spect to the man­age­ment staff. Clearly, ten­sion had been brew­ing be­tween these two for a while.

The is­sue came to a head af­ter last FrI­day’s Flow Su­per Cup game in Mon­tego Bay. Both men agreed on the sto­ry­line that af­ter the game, the man­ager went into the bags of the foot­ballers to claim the foot­ball boots that had been as­signed by FLOW. Mr Hines, the man­ager, says there was a pol­icy that the school would keep all gear un­til the end of the sea­son. Coach Wil­liams felt it was un­fair for the man­ager to take back the free boots and that it was also a gross in­va­sion of pri­vacy to go into the bags of the boys, and he had to take up for the boys. Heated words were ex­changed. Coach Wil­liams ad­mit­ted to using pro­fan­ity, and then Man­ager Hines de­cided that he would no longer work with him.

WHO CALLS THE SHOTS?

The fact that it was the man­ager, not the prin­ci­pal, that fired the coach wasn’t lost on me. It wasn’t lost on Coach Wil­liams ei­ther. He re­fused to leave the premises un­til he felt the fir­ing was “of­fi­cial”. When I asked Mr Hines about what he had said, he said that it was his money that was pay­ing the coach and, there­fore, he was well within his rights. A clas­sic case of he who pays the piper call­ing the tune.

Should a man­ager have that much say in a school pro­gramme? Maybe not, but when the man­ager is also a big spon­sor, then lines now be­come blurred.

The prin­ci­pal at Dinthill in all this is strangely silent. The man­ager, Mr Hines, seems to be a po­lar­is­ing fig­ure. He has been at Dinthill for three years. No less than half a dozen coach­ing changes have been made in that time. Hines’ man­age­ment style ap­pears to be not much bet­ter than slash and burn.

The truth, though, is that in those three years, Dinthill has reached two semi-fi­nals and a fi­nal. Cer­tainly, it has been their best run since the 1980s, and Mr Hines could ar­gue, with some jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, that his method is yield­ing re­sults.

This fas­ci­nat­ing story has other twists. Hot on the heels of Coach Wil­liams be­ing fired, Ge­of­frey Maxwell was brought in on the eve of Dinthill’s

quar­ter-fi­nal round game against Len­non on Wed­nes­day. Ge­of­frey was, at the time, still the coach of Haile Se­lassie.

One coach be­ing in charge of a Man­ning Cup and daCosta Cup team at the same time has never been done be­fore. It ought not to have been al­lowed. Tech­ni­cally, both these teams could meet in the Olivier Shield as cham­pi­ons in both com­pe­ti­tions, and then there would re­ally have been prob­lems. Dinthill lost to Len­non on Wed­nes­day (a team they were ex­pected to beat), and the spec­ta­tors of Dinthill, as ex­pected, were up in arms. The foot­ballers, nat­u­rally, would be loyal to Coach Wil­liams, who ef­fec­tively lost his job de­fend­ing them, and it would be next to im­pos­si­ble for an­other coach to come in and mo­ti­vate them right off the bat. Sev­eral spec­ta­tors ap­proached the Dinthill man­ager af­ter the Len­non game in what was re­ported to be a hos­tile man­ner. It could have turned ugly. Thank­fully, it didn’t.

What has been hap­pen­ing now is chaotic. Up to the time of writ­ing this story (Thurs­day af­ter­noon), it wasn’t even cer­tain whether Mr Hines was still the man­ager of Dinthill, (RJR said last night that he had been re­lieved of his job), or whether Ge­of­frey was the coach of ei­ther school. Phone calls to rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties in both schools have gone an­swered. But in an in­ter­view with The Gleaner late yes­ter­day, Maxwell con­firmed that he and Haile Se­lassie had parted ways. It seems Maxwell may have lost both jobs. There is too much ex­ter­nal pres­sure on Mr Hines and Ge­of­frey Maxwell for the Dinthill board to stay quiet. Some­thing must give.

I wouldn’t be sur­prised if the hi­er­ar­chy at Haile Se­lassie dis­misses Ge­of­frey, who took a job else­where while still of­fi­cially as­signed to them. Ge­of­frey may well feel that he could have done both jobs with­out ei­ther school be­ing un­duly af­fected, but this may well be a case of ‘want all, lose all’. Very in­ter­est­ing days are ahead.

Ge­of­frey Maxwell, here to­day, gone to­mor­row.

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