An Open Letter to The Campbell County Community
From: Josh Lasley
Many of you will see my last name and recognize an entire family. Many of you will see my first name and recognize a friend, relative, CCHS Alumni, or (my all-time favorite as this is how many identify both my brother and myself) “Coach Lasley’s son!” I believe if I had a dollar for every time I was asked, “Are you Coach Lasley’s son,” from students at age 5 all the way to adults 70+, I would have enough money to purchase my own island or at least Charley’s Pizza Parlor. This letter isn’t about me though. This letter is exactly what you think it’s about. This letter is about my dad’s previous employment as the head coach for the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams at Campbell County High School. At first, I was going to remain silent on the topic but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it only helps “The System” if I do that. If you don’t know, he was fired out of nowhere (we will get to this shortly). This isn’t a letter of entitlement. This isn’t a letter begging for my dad’s job back (only dogs beg). This letter is written to inform the community of the hard work my dad and many others have put in. This letter *SPOILER ALERT* may even hit on some of the hard truth many don’t want to hear.
My dad along with MANY others fought HARD for this program. This program didn’t exist when I was in high school and considering I am 22, that’s not been that long ago. When this program started, both teams played on a field that was a few miles down the road (LaFollette Elementary School’s back yard). I’ve rolled my ankle several times on this far from flat surface and worse than that, my brother tore his ACL on that field. So, my dad along with his assistant coaches, Bryan Horton and Steve Ward, sought out the approval to have a field built at the high school. Money was raised, time was donated, machinery was donated, and it was awesome. I really haven’t saw the community pitch in for something like that in a while and it made me proud. I was proud of the work the coaches, players, and volunteers put in. I even made a couple of trips up from Chattanooga to help. I still have nightmares from the amount of rocks we pulled from the Earth. Then one day it was like it just ended, the field was complete. The soccer teams had something of their own and it was EARNED whole heartedly. I can go into greater details of the team’s history but for the purpose of this letter, that’s all you need to know.
FASTFORWARD: My dad got fired on June 5th, 2018. He was fired for, “Too many complaints.” I am going to be blunt and say that this is their cover up/political bull crap. When asked, they wouldn’t provide proof of the complaints and it seems that not a single person on or off the team had anything negative to say as well. Some of his players even signed to play soccer at the collegiate level. The fact is my dad isn’t their puppet. He’s never allowed anyone to control him when it comes to coaching. He has one agenda and that agenda is strictly for the kids. If you think he was in it for the pay, go somewhere else because athletic coaching pay in public education is a joke. I called him after I heard the news, and we talked for a while. He ended the phone call with, “Son, I never did this for the money. I promise I lost more than I made. I love every one of these kids as if they were my own. I always wanted to leave an impact on my students and players. That’s what I did and that’s why I will always be a teacher. These kids are everything and for some of them it is all they have or know.” Some of the players were asked about the decision and they all seemed to have the same answer. “I was so in shock,” “It’s just really sad that he is leaving us,” and, “He had no favorites. He had a personal connection with everybody,” were just some of the comments made. It should also be noted that according to the LaFollette Press, Principal Jamie Wheeler sent out a statement via text message saying, “One of the most difficult things we face in administration is coming to the realization that someone in our program may not be the right fit. The purpose of CCHS athletics is to build lifetime character traits in young people and ensure that everyone is treated fairly. That is our mindset and plays an integral part in every decision we make as an administration at CCHS.” If you ask any of my father’s previous student athletes or their parents, they will inform you he was just that and more.
As for personal issues, I have no doubt that the administration at the high school is tired of seeing our last names. Several families including mine gave the high school plenty of fight over the graduating class’s rankings. I won’t go any further than saying it was a pain for everyone. I’m sure there is some hurt feelings on the administration side of the high school. After all, they never have enjoyed their decisions/opinions being challenged.
No investigation. No interviews before the meeting. No complaints ever heard. No proof of complaints presented during the meeting. No one asked how players felt beforehand. It is always an interesting take on an institution handling a situation for students and the students aren’t included in the conversation at all. I present to you a classic form of small town politics. Except this time, it hit home. So, if you’re reading this letter and you feel as if more can be done, it can. Be a voice and don’t be sheep. I do ask that you remember this decision was made at the high school level. If you decide to call and speak to the new and WELL DESERVED Director of Schools, Jennifer Fields, the decisions was not made there.
To my Dad: I am proud of you for handling the situation the way you have and I love you more than you will ever know.
I will leave you all with this quote.
“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Joshua K. Lasley
The proud son of Daniel K. Lasley