Replacing Counts


Jasyra Kennedy, Reporter

Two years ago, Taylor Counts was hired and now the school is looking for his replacement after deciding not to bring him back for next year. The new coach will also be our fourth in six seasons.

Many people don’t think Southeast is making the best decision when it comes to replacing the head football coach. To the football team, the game is about family and growth, players say. And coach Counts made sure his own family got involved with the football program as well that each player grew in his own way.

“Him and all of his family really took part in Southeast football, like whenever we went to combines and all of our games and stuff his whole family was there supporting us and they always made sure we had food and we weren’t hungry. His family made us feel like a big one,” Sr. Sahntaj Murphy said.

The fact of the other coaches losing their jobs has not been discussed at this time. Some coaches don’t want to speak about the matter. The coaches that they do can only tell us so much, due to legal reasons.

“It is unfortunate, I feel like we were making progress but weren’t quite there yet. COVID didn’t help, but that’s just how these things go sometimes,” assistant coach Christopher Hughes said.

The growth of any program is something that every school, every district, every team, and every coach strives for.
Coach Counts and his family were heartbroken when he got the news. While he has so much support from the players and families, he is still upset, and disappointed.

After he heard the news, he had a zoom call and spoke with the players. He told them he loves them and wants to see them continue doing what I’ve preached to them for the last two years. He told them they have to keep getting closer as a group and to push each other in the classroom, at workouts and at practice.

“Currently I’m not sure what the next step will be for my family and I. We’re waiting to see that coaching jobs will open up in the next couple months and we’ll evaluate and decide what is best for us as a family,” Counts said in an emailed statement.

A lot of memories were made in the last two years with Counts and the football team during their practices, camps, and games, along with all the new traditions Count brought to the team.

“He really pushed me to be the best player I could possibly be,” Sr. Liae Hunter said. “I just think he is an overall good coach and just changed the view of Southeast…it seemed like he really cared about us.”

“He was my first actual coach to get me going and like see potential in me,” Jr. Issah Rodriguez said.

Other people feel for the players who have had no consistency over the years. The team will have to rebuild what they just built with Counts. When this consistency is not there, coaches feel like kids are less likely to play football or buy into the game as they would with someone who is familiar.

“I appreciate you a lot coach Counts,” Murphy said. “He helped me a lot…I would tell him that any team that gets him is really lucky to have him as a coach.”