Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Orville Higgins | Dinthill's dilemma

Published:Friday | October 28, 2016 | 10:00 AM

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 AndrÈ 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.

- Orville Higgins is s sportscaster and talk-show-host at KLAS ESPN Sports FM. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and columns@gleanerjm.com.