Coach, but no band leader
At West Limestone, it’s like halftime at a football game, without the music
By Holly Hollman
CAPSHAW — The emotional highs and lows that West Limestone High School supporters have experienced are like momentum shifts between teams on a football field.
And in this sports analogy, the saga is only at halftime, with one school board member giving the community something akin to a locker room speech by telling them to be part of the solution to make West Limestone more positive, or stay home.
The second quarter ended Thursday at the Limestone County Board of Education meeting at Creekside Elementary with no band director to write the halftime show.
But there is a new coach with NFL ties at the helm and a new principal on board to unite the fan base.
Here’s a recap of the first half.
Parents made complaints against both the band director, Matt Dobbs, and assistant football coach Clint Legg. Dobbs opted to not have majorettes this fall and was accused of calling their outfits unladylike, while Legg was accused of using profanity and holding practices too long.
The board non-renewed Dobbs and Legg but did not give a reason. A majority of band and football parents rallied around them both.
Dobbs got married a week after losing his job, while the main parent accusing Legg died unexpectedly of a heart attack before the board addressed his son’s transfer.
Meanwhile, with the head coach having resigned, the community and superintendent searched for a new coach. One candidate withdrew because of negative comments on the Limestone County forum on Al.com, according to board member Earl Glaze. Then a Hoover coach turned down the job.
A controversial new search began.
At second quarter’s end Thursday, the board announced that David Arnsparger is that new coach. He has spent the past five years coaching wide receivers at Alabama A&M. He is a University of Florida graduate and was a graduate assistant at Florida and Notre Dame.
His father is Bill Arnsparger, a former defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins who has coached in six Super Bowls. Bill Arnsparger has offered to be a volunteer assistant at West Limestone.
In addition, the board swapped principals, sending West Limestone Principal Stan Davis to the Limestone County Career Technical Center and moving the center’s director, Charlotte Craig, to West Limestone.
Superintendent Barry Carroll said Davis and Craig agreed to the change and that he has 100 percent faith in Craig to work with the community.
The board did not rehire Dobbs, despite a plea from band booster treasurer Bruce Craig. He read a letter from the boosters that said the students’ morale is “completely decimated.”
During Glaze’s locker room speech, he said it was more than profanity and more than majorettes that led to Legg’s and Dobbs’ dismissals. He said legally, he could not discuss the reasons.
He then urged the community to support the new coach and principal and future band director. Glaze said during his six years on the board, there has been a “small group that are not happy if they are not stirring the pot at West Limestone.”
As the third quarter starts, Craig and Arnsparger are confident in the second half’s outcome.
Craig is asking parents for three things: their support, trust and help.
Arnsparger is saying he knows the community wants the same thing, that their students succeed in the classroom, on the field and in developing their character.
“This community is going to come together,” he said, standing in his alligator skin boots, suit and tie and West Limestone baseball cap. “I’ve never seen such a group that came out (Thursday night), and they came out to show how much they care.”
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