By MARINA WATERS
When Jeremy Bosken resigned as the head football coach at David Crockett High School on Dec. 7, it was the shot heard across Washington County.
Not just because the Pioneers would be losing one of their most successful coaches in school history, but because as he left, Bosken brought to light what he viewed as crucial athletic facilities needs at Crockett.
Bosken, who will soon be joining Cleveland High School’s coaching staff as an offensive coordinator, said he has been trying to get air conditioning in the locker room and even rallied a team of alumni and boosters to repaint locker room floors and replace the lockers themselves. Bosken said Crockett’s lack of an auxiliary gym has left numerous sports without a place to dress out before games and practices.
“Those are concerns that I honestly believe that at a 5A school, they need to be addressed,” Bosken said.
He also said he felt like the best way he could help his student athletes was to leave.
“I feel like as I do leave,” Bosken said, “the way I can help the kids there and the coaches there is just to simply bring awareness that this is an issue that needs to be addressed.”
However, Crockett isn’t the only high school in the conversation; Daniel Boone High School athletic director Danny Good said he thought Boone needed an update on their facilities as well.
“I think we need some attention on our athletic facilities,” Good said. “I think you can look at most of our opponents that we compete against and you can see their outside facilities compared to ours and we could be a step behind in that aspect of things.”
To fix this problem, Good believes it takes more than just Boone and Crockett; he believes it would take unity within the county.
“We all need to come together,” Good said. “That’s the school board, that’s the community, that’s the county commission, that’s our director of schools, that’s the mayor. Let’s all us come together and let’s set a goal. Let’s decide what we want as a community.
“I’m talking about Washington County, I’m not just talking about Boone and Crockett. I’m talking about all of us. What do we want? What do we need? There’s a need and there’s a want — what do we need. If we come together as one, we can achieve that.”
Board member Todd Ganger said Bosken’s comments have brought the discussion of updating these athletic facilities to the forefront along with recent Board of Education priorities such as the new K-8 Boones Creek School’s layout that was recently discussed at the latest school board meeting and the new technology that will soon be implemented in Washington County Schools.
“It’s just things that this board has got to continue to look at and the county commission has got to continue to look at,” Ganger said. “As board members, all we can do is relate our needs to the county commissioners and they’ve got to fund it. They’ve stepped up with the Boones Creek School and we’re trying to fulfill Mrs. Halliburton’s vision for Washington Way and implementing technology into the schools. So it just comes down to a matter of balance. “
It’s a broad spectrum of needs we have in the school system and all of our needs come with a price tag.”
The price tag on the construction of the new Boones Creek School also included a conversation about athletics; an auxiliary gym is included in the layout for the school that was presented by architect Tony Street at Thursday’s called school board meeting. Street’s presentation stated that removing the gym from the plan would save $400,000. During the board’s discussion of the plan, board member Keith Ervin brought Crockett’s athletic facilities into the conversation.
“This is a K-8,” Ervin said. “I don’t even have an auxiliary gym at Crocket, and I need one there worse than I do anywhere.”
School board members aren’t the only ones noticing the construction of these new and soon-to-be-built schools in the area.
“You’re going to have 60 percent of these kids that are going into these nice middle schools that have these facilities,” said Good. “And then when they go to high school, they’re going to kind of step down a little bit.”
For Ganger, these topics are all about finding a balance.
“Granted, there is a huge need at Crockett for an auxiliary gym,” Ganger said. “And it’s been brought up and talked about. To add an auxiliary gym to a new school, it is an issue the board will have to look at. Is there a true need there?
“That’s just one of those things that the board, once we can get down to the nitty gritty to be at the new school or not to be at the new school, it’s something you have to really look at and focus at. But just because you do not put an auxiliary gym in the new Boones Creek School, does not automatically mean you’re getting one at Crockett. You have to have that balance. You don’t not give one school something just because another school doesn’t have it.”
Ganger also said the issues the board faces take time before improvements come to life. In the meantime, rolling up their sleeves for fundraising is something that Good said Boone wouldn’t shy away from. The work put into programs such as Crockett’s football team during Bosken’s time there also didn’t go unnoticed.
“There’s a pride down there at Crockett when you talk about football now,” Ganger said. “I even told Coach Bosken after the football season this year, I told him thank you for helping build the football program — not the football team— he has built a football program down there. And I think that’s huge. And hopefully the next coach that comes in can just build on what he’s done cause he has set a nice groundwork for the next coach to come in. The next coach isn’t going to come in bare-to-nothing; he’s going to come in with something to build upon.”
The foundation the coach has set goes further back than just four years for Bosken. And that’s a story he told his players at Crockett.
“The story I tell my guys is what saved me was a football field/soccer field down the street from me. And luckily, the school always cut the grass,” Bosken recalled. “And if they didn’t cut the grass on that field, I don’t know where I would have spent most of my time. I honesty feel that if they didn’t commit to the simple things like cutting the field, or making sure it was lined and had no rocks on it…I mean I spent most of my childhood on the field. If there was’t a field for me to go to, I probably would have gotten in a lot of trouble.”
“I believe with athletic facilities and nice things, you get more kids out and coaches and parents and teachers working together. It’s a ministry. And its gonna help our community as a whole in the long run.”
In that future, Ganger hopes Bosken will one day see these changes he, in part, left Crockett in order to bring back into discussion.
“Hopefully if he comes back to Washington County 10 years down the road, he’ll see a huge change,” Ganger said. “He’ll see some of these things he was needing and wanting when he was here and hopefully they’ve been implemented.”
“He’ll see those and he’ll feel a little sense of pride because he did have something to do with the changes.”