Scott Cody / Eyewitness Sports
The highly successful South Plaquemines high school football program is looking for a head coach again after Damien Mills resigned from the position for “family reasons” last week.
Mills, who took over after the departure of Cyril Crutchfield, led the Hurricanes to a 10-4 mark and a berth in the state semi-finals in his only season at the helm. "We did well under the circumstances. It was a constant battle," Mills said Monday morning.
Mills was hired back in July after the abrupt removal of Crutchfield as head coach for allegedly using profane language. Crutchfield lead the Hurricanes to two state championships in three years before he left. He is currently the head coach at Landry High School.
"I didn't hire one coach on my staff," Mills said as he explained the complexities of following up a successful icon such as Crutchfield in such a small, football driven community.
Another taxing element Mills highlighted was his teaching responsibilities. Mills was hired as the school’s special education teacher and was assigned the head coaching position, according to principal John Barthelemy.
“I don’t want to cry or pout,” Mills said. “It was a tough situation. There is a lot of paperwork to be a head coach and there is a lot of paperwork to be a special education teacher and the two don’t go hand in hand. I didn't want to short-changed anyone.”
During the season, Mills approached Barthelemy and asked for a different teaching assignment. Barthelemy acknowledge the request but said Monday he told Mills there were no other positions available at the time.
Barthelemy said a search to find his third head football coach in less than a year will begin as soon as possible and deflected any negative connotation the unusual attrition could have toward future candidates.
"It does not concern me," Barthelemy said. "We have an open check book for our football program. I am 100 percent behind my coaches."
Meanwhile, Mills will soon be homeless. His decision to resign also affects his living arrangement in Port Sulphur. According to Barthelemy, subsidized housing is provided for certified teachers in the lower end of Plaquemines Parish and Mills confrimed he took advantage of the offer.
Mills' immediate plan is to stay in the New Orleans area and perhaps even land a coaching job. "I'll work with anyone," Mills declared this morning.
Well, just about anyone it would appear.