Posted: 6:47 pm Monday, November 15th, 2010
By Matt Porter
In advance of Friday’s first-round playoff game against Treasure Coast, Atlantic head football coach Chris Bean said he may dismiss “two or three” prominent players from his team because of reoccurring conduct issues.
“We just can’t have a cancerous attitude on our football team,” Bean said.
Bean said the players in question are seniors and starters. He declined to name them because he had not yet decided whether or not to dismiss them.
Friday, Atlantic visits Treasure Coast (5-4) in the Class 6A regional quarterfinals, a team that had coaching changes of its own during the offseason.
Atlantic (6-4) has been possibly the area’s most erratic team this season. It has a roster with several Division 1 prospects, but the Eagles looked disjointed in several losses, from their preseason defeat to Miami-Washington and season opener against Pahokee, to last week’s turnover-filled, 6-0 loss to Palm Beach Lakes, a 2-8 team.
Since taking over for former coach Andre Thaddies in April, Bean says he has battled to change the culture of the program, and struggled with a few players’ attitude and commitment.
Bean says he dismissed at least five players from the team this season. He brought two of those players back after conversations with the players and their parents.
“These are the inner battles we’ve been dealing with all year long,” he said. “You can preach and talk and counsel and mentor, but if they don’t want to listen, what are you going to do?
“They’re throwing away a scholarship. They’re throwing away an education after high school. If they don’t get our recommendation, they’re going to have to pay for their education. Some of them simply cannot afford to do that. I have no answers for you. I really don’t.”
Bean expressed regret that a few of the team’s 27 seniors could not work follow the guidelines he and his assistants set.
“It takes away from the hard work of the seniors who bought into the program, the ones who tried to make this program successful. It shines a negative light on them, like they’re doing something wrong.”
When asked, Bean said he had no problem discussing his team’s issues publicly.
“It’ll shed some light, for a lot of people who question things and really don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “I’m sure a lot of other coaches are going through what I’m going through. You have to deal with these types of situations. Most people only see the wins and losses. They don’t know the underlying factors that cause the wins and losses.
“To have a good program, sometimes you have to sacrifice three or four guys who would have helped you. As we go on, this program has to learn discipline.”
Bean said it may take two or three seasons for the program to see the change he wants.
“I’ve been trying to feel the pulse of this team all season long,” Bean said. “Coming in, the goal was to try to get them to be a disciplined, focused team. I think they’re a lot more disciplined than they were coming in, without a doubt.
“You hope the players adopt the image of the coaching staff. They haven’t done that yet. With the experience we have on the coaching staff, you’d think we’d have a pretty good football team. They haven’t been that.”