01/05/13 — Opinion: Aycock officials have opportunity to upgrade football program

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Opinion: Aycock officials have opportunity to upgrade football program

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 5, 2013 11:06 PM

Although Randy Pinkowski helped turned around a program that had experienced just two winning seasons in nearly a decade before his arrival, there is still plenty of room for the Charles B. Aycock football program to grow.

The county's longest-tenured coach with 14 years, Pinkowski first announced his resignation during the season-ending fall sports awards ceremony. He officially stepped down just three days before the New Year.

A devout Christian and father of five, Pinkowski told the News-Argus that his decision came down to a "leap of faith" and said that "if you keep staying in the same pond, you're not going to know what else is out there."

While the pond never broadened and wasn't always stocked with talent, Pinkowski found himself treading water during several seasons. The coaching staff dumped the playbook during two seasons because of personnel issues.

Injuries and lack of consistent production on both sides of the ball also spelled trouble for a program that enjoyed success during the Dave Thomas era.

Pinkowski does have credible accolades -- 75 career wins, seven postseason appearances, seven East-West All-Star selections and two Shrine Bowl selections. He sent 13 players to college on scholarships and helped improve campus athletic facilities.

But, realistically, there could have been more.

Aycock never reached its true potential.

Pinkowski seemed to prefer the underdog role. He lamented season in and season out that his players always faced a bigger, faster and stronger opponent each Friday night. That might have been the case on more that one occasion, but Pinkowski and his staff had plenty of talent that could have matched -- or in certain situations -- been just a little more superior.

The Golden Falcons lost games they should have won and let certain victories slip through their talons.

Dr. Earl Moore, principal at Aycock, athletics director Charles Davis and the search committee certainly need to look outside the program to find a new coach. Pinkowski's departure leaves the door open to hire a new coach who can bring energy, intensity and enthusiasm to a program that's headed into perhaps the roughest stretch of its existence.

Aycock will join a combination 3-A/4-A conference next fall that includes perennial, bruising powerhouses New Bern and J.H. Rose. The Golden Falcons will also face South Central and D.H. Conley.

Instead of embracing the underdog role each week, the returning and incoming athletes face the task of working harder to become bigger, stronger and faster. They shouldn't accept the "competitive" label.

Offensive and defensive schemes should match the team's available personnel, and be based upon their ability. The intangibles of injuries and other problems prove troublesome when you're attempting to put a consistent winner on the field.