After Coahoma Community College men’s basketball coach Micheal Stringer announced his resignation after six years on a video Thursday, he was asked to leave campus the following day.
Stringer, who said he was making the announcement after he was asked to resign, intended for it to take effect at the end of his contract June 30. However, he said school officials asked him to collect his things with police present and leave campus Friday.
“I just feel like it’s more personal than anything because, to be honest with you, if you go into this extreme,” said Stringer after he was asked to leave campus. “First, they tell me April the 9th that I had to come to work until June 30 so I can continue to get my pay. I said, ‘OK, cool. I ain’t got no problem with that.’ Now I can’t come on campus anymore after today. It has to be something personal. This is not business. It has become personal now.”
Stringer said he would continue to trust God, pray for everyone and take the high road.
Stringer’s employment came up during the CCC board meeting Monday. School president Dr. Valmadge Towner announced Stringer and assistant coach Luster C. Tyler II as two of the employees who would be terminated.
Towner said since Stringer and Tyler were at-will employees, a board vote was not needed.
Board member Dr. Mary Frances Dear-Moton questioned why the board did not need to vote on the terminations.
Board attorney Steve Brandon also said Towner said the sole authority to terminate at-will employees.
“Everybody else who is employed by the college is an at-will employee subject to service and employment at the pleasure of the President, the chief executive officer of the college,” Brandon said. “It is within the power, the authority of the President to make decisions to terminate at-will employees, consistent with his role as providing reports and recommendations to the board.”
“I wish we could go to executive session because there’s a question I want to ask,” said Dear-Moton after a discussion with Brandon.
Brandon said legal advice on terminations would be an appropriate discussion for executive session.
Towner declined to comment about Stringer’s employment and the next step to find a new coach.
In the video Thursday, Stringer thanked God for opportunity to be at CCC for six years. He played basketball for CCC, graduated from Coahoma County High School in 1994, was the Oakhurst Middle School principal and coached in several capacities in the Clarksdale Municipal School District and then-Coahoma Agricultural High School. He talked about how he worked in community for 20 years total.
“At this point, I think it’s time for me to change chapters,” Stringer said. “I think it’s time for me to move forward. At this time, someone has made a recommendation saying they want me to resign from my job duties at Coahoma Community College and I just want to say thank God for all the opportunity. Normally, in the past, I’d probably be all upset and disgruntled and things like that. But I started looking at it where God is taking me. Sometimes in life you’ve just got to move on. Sometimes you just go where God wants you to go.”
Stringer said he has put everything in God’s hands.
“Like a young black man like me, I came from the project to the Pinnacle,” said Stringer, who grew up in a one-parent home.
Stringer said he is thankful and blessed to be position in, thanked everyone for their support and blessed those who did not support him. Speaking to the administration, he said prayed and hope things improved. He praised the job CCC women’s basketball coach Stephanie Murphy, women’s assistant basketball coach Isaiah Butler and head football coach Travis Macon have done to improve the athletic program.
Stringer said the men’s basketball program did not win a game the year before he took over and he is leaving the program better than he found it.
“All the kids that have graduated, all the kids that are former players that have worked hard for me, I’m just really blessed and thankful that God entrusted me and their parents entrusted me to help lead and guide them for the years that I have guided them,” Stringer said.
Stringer said the last three years the CCC men’s basketball team had a 93 percent graduation rate along with the highest GPA on campus at one point at 2.9. He added God placed something inside him to encourage and motivate kids to do better.
CCC did win the first round of the Region 23 Tournament this past season, but there were not as many victories as Stringer hoped for during his tenure.
“It’s not about number of wins,” Stringer said. “You can’t judge me on the number of wins. You’ve got to judge me on how many lives we’ve changed. I think we’ve fallen off from that part of coaching.”
Stringer named several athletes who played for him at CCC and continued their career at four-year schools.
Forward Jordan O'Neal came in as a freshman and signed with Alabama State, redshirt junior Robert Boyd and senior guard DeQuan Morris are playing for University of Arkansas Pine Bluff , guard Malik Bailey from West Tallahatchie High School played at University of St. Francis in Illinois, forward Ledarius Woods from Tunica went on from CCC to Tougaloo College and former CCC center Dusan Bubanja is playing professional basketball in Europe.
Stringer said he tried to change the mindset and introduce people to God. He has not announced his plans going forward, but he said has received calls and has options.
“Yeah, this door may have closed, but not only has He opened doors, He’s opened windows for me,” Stringer said.
“I remember a person said out here on this campus (CCC) a lot of you all here can’t get a job anywhere else.”
Stringer said he was appalled by that statement. He said he is a Tiger for life and has love for the community.
For CCC to move forward, Stringer said there must be the leadership to change the culture and mindset.