November 29, 2020

Letter to the Editor: Coach Barron Addresses the Community

To the Parents, Athletes, Fans, and Citizens of Heard County,

In response to the recent article posted on the, I would like to reassure that your child is not only in great academic hands but also at a great place to have athletic success.

For some reason, there has always been a feeling that in order to get the exposure needed to obtain athletic scholarships, an athlete needs to be at a larger school.

I can assure you that this is by no means true. I, on the other hand, have seen that being at a smaller school has more advantages.

At Heard County, we as coaches have to invest more in our athletes in the early years than a coach would have to at a larger school.

The experience gained while having to play at the varsity level as a freshman and sophomore far outweighs the experience gained by playing freshman and junior varsity ball.

These young athletes have to learn to play correctly against older, stronger, and faster upper classmen in order to have minimal success.

By the time these young players are juniors and seniors; they have sharpened their skills as well as improved physically due to maturity and growth.  Some of the greatest athletes to play college athletics have come from communities like Heard County.

College athletics is a business.  These recruiters have a job and responsibility to go out and find the very best student athletes to bring into their program.  As coaches at Heard County, we take a great deal of pride in getting the names, stats and films out to prospective colleges.

In my ten years of coaching at Heard County, we have been blessed to have had 15 or more players be given the opportunity to play football beyond the high school level.

Yes, as coaches, we had to do our part in getting names, stats and highlights to prospective colleges but it was the athletes themselves that created those opportunities.

Take Thomas “Red” Keith for instance.  He came into his senior year with no scholarship offers.  He went out and put together a great senior year and signed a division-1 scholarship at Central Michigan.  Red Keith could have decided to leave Heard County but he chose to stay and forever be remembered as one of the great athletes to attend our school.

Carlos Brown was another great athlete who could have chosen to attend a larger high school.  However, he chose to stay at Heard and play with the guys he grew up with.  Carlos went on to play for one of College football’s most renowned programs.

Dontavius Jackson signed with the University of Georgia after sitting out his senior year due to injury. Yes, Dontavius made a poor decision while attending UGA and had to pay the consequences; however, did you know that he has already graduated from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and that he will be working on his masters while playing his senior year of football?

What about Kyle Yates who played four years at West Georgia and graduated this past spring in physical education?  What about Darvel Nelson who very few thought would graduate from Heard County High School?

It was the love and support from our teachers, coaches and administrators who worked over and beyond to help get him to Albany State.

You do not get an entire community working together for the betterment of our kids at larger schools like you get at Heard County.

Yes, I am talking mostly about football players but what about players from other sports like Ann O’Neal.  She played basketball at Heard County and went on to play and graduate from Brown University.

At one basketball game this past season, we had five division-1 college coaches in our gym.  Last Year, we lost the number one ranked receiver in the state to a larger school.  That athlete eventually signed with the University of Auburn.  Did you know that the offer from Auburn along with many others occurred way before he transferred to the larger school?

The great athletes who come through our system and go on to play at the next level become immortal legends in our entire community.  The Rodney Wilkerson’s, Carlos Brown’s, Sonny Archer’s, Ann O’Neal’s, and many others will be forever remembered in Heard County while some great athletes will be nothing more than a blip on a radar.

Sometimes, we are going to lose some great players because of moves and unavoidable situations.  When these moves happen it hurts and we wish those athletes the very best.

If these moves are because an athlete or a parent believes that they need to move for more exposure or athletic opportunities, then these families need to reevaluate their decisions and consider the facts.  The bottom line is that if players are good enough, colleges will find them.


Tim Barron

Heard County Athletic Director



  1. I personally would like to thank you Coach Barron along with your coaching staff for being such an influence in my boys life. Although I chose to move while my children was attending school in Heard County, I made the decision to give up parental rights so Britt could stay and play for a coach that I knew he would be happy playing for.

  2. Well said coach! I am a native of Heard County, yet, I had the opportunity (or misfortune) to play ball in other counties and even other states during school. My children have played in programs in the surrounding counties. They are now under the leadership of coach Barron and his staff and
    I wouldn’t have it any other way!
    The people of Heard County are so very fortunate to haveTim Barron. He truly cares about the kids and their future. For that matter our entire school system is something to be admired. My kids may or may not play ball at the next level, but I can tell you from experience, they will be better more productive citizens for having played under the direction of Coach Barron and his staff!!

  3. Well said Coach Barron!

  4. Misunderstood says

    Coach Barron, no offense to you or anyone else. It’s not the size of a school, it’s more so of the location. A lot of people of never heard of Heard County. With that being said, in order for a child to get recognition from a division I college the coaches here will have to really put in the work. You mentioned that there were five Division I college coaches at a basketball game last season, we all know who they were there to see and that player was being exposed outside of middle and high school. No one has put down the athletic staff in Heard County unless I’m missing some untold details. When parents move their children, it’s not always that something wrong was being done. We as parents have to make decisions for what’s best for our children. If I am given an opportunity to put my children somewhere that will greater their chance at being successful then consider it done. You never know a person’s situation by just looking at them or listening to the “rumor mill”. Who’s to say that one of the aforementioned players you named would have stayed in Heard County if they were given an opportunity to move knowing that it could possibly put them in a better place. That’s a question in which we will never know the true answer. One thing that I have learned about Heard County (adults especially) is that we are so quick to judge someone else’s situation instead of evaluating our own. At the end of the day, it’s all about the children. We should be encouraging them to reach their full potential not gossiping with them about one of their schoolmates. It’s time that we(parents) do a self-evaluation of ourselves. I wish the Heard County athletes, as well as those who are no longer here; the best this school year in the class as well as competing on the court, field, track or whatever it may be.

  5. Sherice Savage says

    I have several points to make as this article hits home for me personally so I’ll just start: 1. Heard County is a good place to live and raise children, however it is also a place that has the potential to be great but the adults have decided to place their judgemental opionions onto their children which breeds negatism amongst our youth. A parent’s decision to move their children to another city, town, school to better their child(ren)-hear me-their child shouldn’t be the topic of gossip or rumor for anyone else. 2. Coach Barron, absolutely you have been the coach that this school can and is proud to have as a Coach, but that is Football program and the football program ALONE. This school has many athletic programs. Now for example the basketball program, here are a few questions food for the thought if you will: How many basketball sholarships has Heard County coaches helped players receive? How many high-light tapes have been made for players over the years? How much energy and time has truly been put into helping these athletes who work just as hard as the football players to help them further their education on athletic scholarships because at the end of the day,obtaining a college degree is a goal. Are players really prepared to play on the next level? The players that obtained basketball scholarships primarily did so with the help of outsiders, people who put in time and effort including their parents to help them acheive those scholarships–Not the school. 3. I must turn personal briefly, the player that left and signed with Auburn, lets get the facts STRAIGHT. He didnt leave in hopes of better or more offers. He had the offers. He left for reasons that had nothing to do with football offers, but were about his life. He felt that he needed to leave his home in order to be successful.And his community,that he loves criticized him for that instead of asking if there was anything they could do to help him. On an even more personal note, my daughter and I made a decision for her to transfer because that was most suited for her. Our reasoning also go beyond scholarship offers, which by the way she hasn’t had any recruiting efforts do to Heard County help from this point…but instead of making assumptions and joining in gossips, why not just call her or her mother and ask. You would be surprised to know the TRUTH as to why the decision was made. As a community, maybe we should take a look at how we treat our youth( I have witnessed many games with parents yelling and screaming rude remarks to players during a game and you think those kids dont hurt from that?) All of our athletes in this community deserve the same opportunities regardless of the sport you participate in. There are students who were told that they couldn’t obtain scholarships or didnt feel that they would be able to play on the next level, but with the efforts of others, they excelled. Many people spend their time bashing and criticizing parents/students who make decisions to move because it provides a better opportunity for them… Is that what we’ve become as a community? A small school does unfortunately make a difference but what makes the difference is to have a supportive coaching staff, parents, and community to promote our youth and that is where we failed our student athletes. But I have to thank you Coach Barron for shedding more light on this issue so that maybe this community will band together and start demanding more for their children and work together to empower our young people instead of constantly trying to find ways to tear them down.

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