The Arnold football program lost a familiar face on Thursday, as James Hale stepped down. Hale started the Marlin football program from the ground up 13 years ago, compiling an 80-52 record in the process.
While Hale is stepping down as Head Coach, he will remain in Bay County, and while he can't announce what he'll be doing just yet, he will remain on the beach, and he will be employed by the Bay County School Board. Hale said he'd been thinking about stepping down for a long time, but the decision to do so, was a difficult one.
"I almost left after our 10th year, I thought about leaving here, I think we'd won like 63 games and lost like 30. It's just hard to leave the beach and this community," says Hale. "Of all the jobs I've had in 32 years of coaching football, this is the best county by far I have ever worked in. The people here in Bay County are outstanding. These are the best kids I've ever coached. I love being around them. I will miss the kids. The beach community is absolutely the best place I've ever lived. The kindest, most sweet hearted people I've ever worked for out here."
Principal Keith Bland says the job will be advertised starting Friday the 21st, with it closing on January 18th. Interviews will be held the week after. Hale says he hopes to be involved in the hiring of his replacement.
"We're going to get somebody in here that can keep this thing going and get it back. You know, people got to be patient," says Hale. "You go through cycles. You look at the other schools in this county they've gone through them. We haven't been through one yet. We had a bad one this year. We're excited about getting someone in here that can get it going, get back to work. I'm going to keep them weightlifting. We've been lifting weights after school. We'll keep doing that until they get a new coach in here, and then I'll step out of the way and fade away."