Commentary: The end is hardly golden for Campbell’s Rainbow
by John Bednarowski
sportseditor@mdjonline.com
March 03, 2014 04:00 AM | 4881 views | 11 11 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Popular among his players and members of the community, Campbell football coach Harris Rainbow didn’t have the support of principal Denise Magee.
<BR>Staff file photo
Popular among his players and members of the community, Campbell football coach Harris Rainbow didn’t have the support of principal Denise Magee.
Staff file photo
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It’s been a week since Campbell football coach Harris Rainbow was relieved of his coaching duties by the school’s principal, Denise Magee.

It’s still unclear why the move was made — not only to Rainbow, but to the entire Spartans football community.

Let me state at the forefront. Magee was given an opportunity to give her side of the story, but she and Cobb County School District spokesman Jay Dillon said they could not comment on personnel issues.

Rainbow, on the other hand, hasn’t been shy about giving his side of the story.

“I will not abandon these kids,” he said. “It’s more important for the kids and the community to know that leaving wasn’t my idea.

“When you get fired from a job, I have to defend myself. I have to be able to tell a prospective employer what happened. And when an employer lets you go, telling the truth shouldn’t be a problem.”

Rainbow said that when he met with Magee last Monday, she told him she wanted to take the program in a different direction. With Campbell moving into a new region next fall, Magee was apparently concerned with the team’s development and wanted to make a change.

That’s all fine and good. Cobb County athletic director Steve Jones said a school’s principal has every right to make a change. The principals get the final word on who will and won’t be their coaches, and Magee inherited Rainbow from former Campbell principal Grant Rivera.

But this decision doesn’t make sense.

Here are a few facts about the Campbell football program under Rainbow.

When he arrived in 2011, the program was coming off a 1-9 season and had 35 kids in the program.

At the end of the 2013 season, the Spartans were 4-6, but they had averaged more points per game (29) than any team in the history of present-day Campbell High School, and 110 kids were playing football.

This is a continuous trend for Rainbow. He has always had a history of taking down-on-their-luck programs and giving them the necessary foundations they needed to become successful.

Rainbow had proven that by taking Riverwood from 0-10 to 5-5, and Worth County from 3-8 to 6-6 and a trip to the playoffs — each in a span of two years.

He was well on his way with Campbell, too — until last Monday.

“I hate it because (the opportunity) was taken away from us,” Rainbow said.

Something else that can’t be denied is the shape the Campbell booster club is in right now.

When Rainbow arrived three years ago, the club was $19,000 in debt, and then it had the misfortune of having to deal with a community scandal where the club treasurer allegedly was caught using the funds for personal purchases.

Since then, fundraisers organized and Rainbow put the booster club back in the black. It’s been solvent for two years and it has allowed the team to keep one of the lowest player registration fees in the county ($60).

Speaking of the booster club, its members are less than thrilled with Rainbow’s exit, too. In fact, club members wrote a letter to Magee last week saying as much.

The MDJ obtained a copy of the letter, and it said:

“The booster club fully supports Coach Rainbow and his plan for the team. Our football program is so much more than what it was before his involvement. Coach Rainbow and his team have helped our players learn to be better players, friends, brothers, sons and husbands. Our program has been through enough diversity without the dismissal of one of its champions.

“One of the core values on the (Cobb County School District) website is integrity — demonstrating honesty, consistency, taking responsibility for action and being worth of trust. What does it say for you to fire someone that you admitted has been good for the program, but you want to change anyway? Knowing that, who could possibly trust that they had your support any longer?

“We are outraged regarding this decision. I cannot find adequate words to explain how the removal of Coach Rainbow has crippled this program.”

The letter was signed by booster club president Vivian Fussell, vice president Natalie Beavers and treasurer Donna Hawkins.

Members of the Cobb County high school football community have been shaking their heads at Rainbow’s dismissal, too. Every coach I spoke with has backed Rainbow, and that’s why he has already gotten numerous phone calls about possibly joining other schools’ coaching staffs as an assistant next year.

“I don’t think (Magee) thought this thing through,” one local athletic director said. “She’s going to find out programs need coaches like Harris Rainbow.”

It’s this kind of support that Rainbow said he is thankful for.

“I have not found any teacher or community member that has not come up to me and offered their support or given me a hug,” Rainbow said. “I’m very proud of what we accomplished, and it makes me realize how good of a job we did.”

None of this is meant to be a pity party for Rainbow. His teaching job is secured, but if he wanted to leave Campbell and continue coaching, there would likely be plenty of opportunities coming his way.

What Rainbow is concerned about is the kids he is forced to leave behind, and not because of what might or might not happen to them on Friday nights between the sidelines.

“I’ve always told kids, I didn’t come to Campbell to win football games,’” Rainbow said. “I told them I came there to make them better people — better sons, (and eventually) better fathers and husbands. The wins began to come after that.”

As of Saturday, Rainbow said Magee had not allowed him to call a team meeting to allow him to address the players as a group. He said he has had to call or track down each player at school to let him know leaving was not his idea.

“I wanted them to know I loved them,” Rainbow said, “and that I will always be there for them. No matter what happens, I will always be their coach.”
Comments
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Campbellhigh
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March 16, 2014
Magee is actually Bi-Racial
SUPERFANCHS
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March 09, 2014
Well written article, but not all of the so called facts are factual.

There were more kids in the program during rainbow's first year, but not enough kids to field a ninth grade team last season.

5-5 & 6-6 are not winning seasons. Only a loser would consider a 500 winning % successful

If Rainbow did such a fine & outstanding job at Riverwood & Worth County - WHY isn't he still coaching at one of those schools! Let me guess..He was let go by a black principal! Maybe Ms Magee was behind his departure from those schools too! LOL!

Padding your schedule with sub par opponents is not that impressive to most.

If this year's team scored more points than even the very successful Campbell teams during the 2006 and/or 2007 seasons...WHY didn't they make the playoff like those teams?

So, I guess your article & the previous comments about your article imply that only a white coach & white boosters club leaders can keep the club solvent! Some of the booster club leadership was around before Rainbow arrived, when according to you the club was in the red!

I'm sure all & all, Rainbow is an ok guy.

But, if he was helping the kids to become better player, friends, brothers, sons & husbands...WHY did the kids clap & cheer when they were told of his departure! Wait a minute, I know...That white folks hating Ms Magee made them do it! LOL

Glad to hear Rainbow has so much support and so many coaching offers! I'm sure there are plenty of poor little black kids from broken homes all over Cobb county that need a good white coach to turn their life around and make them better people!

Question...was it racism when the former white principal at Campbell fired the former black head coach?

Sometimes in life, you need to look below the surface, behind the curtains!

All you good white folks (& black folks) that continuously call Ms Magee a white folks hater & racist really don't have any idea of what you are talking about!!!!!

You really need to do your homework (research) before you make accusations!

You really need to check the facts!!!

Boosterparent
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March 09, 2014
I do not know all of the comments in your post are true or not, however the very first comment you made is blatantly false.

There was a ninth grade team. They finished the season with 34 kids. I know this because I am on the booster club and that is how many finished the season and were invited to the banquet.

Also, I can tell you that the freshman team had over 40 players most of the season.

So because of this false accusation you are claiming it is hard to believe anything else you wrote in your post. As you said, "you really need to do your homework (research) before you make accusations!"

Bottom line is Dr. Magee made this decision, and although I disagree with it, I have no choice but to wait and see who is hired and hope for the best. My son is still on the team, and I was pleased with Coach Rainbow and the progress he made. I also thought the program was headed in the right direction, however Coach Rainbow is no longer the coach, and we must support the kids, and whoever is next.

I wish them luck.
SUPERFANCHS
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March 09, 2014
@Boosterparent

Ok buddy, this is a free country...U can believe whatever you want to! LOL

I think the article not me, pointed out Rainbow 500% record (actually it is less than that as he went 4-6 this year)

Keep in mind we are only talking about his most successful seasons...per this article.

It was not me but you or some other booster member

and this article that pointed out some of your members were around before rainbow arrived. The article not me stated the club was in the red!

The fact is...you made a big deal about the only thing you could about my comments...the 9th grade team!

So holla back!LOL

Campbell Dad
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March 07, 2014
Ms. Magee is a fine example of the Peter Principle. Unfortunately she "raised to her level of incompetence" about 3 positions before she got to Campbell HS. I am so glad this is our last year at the school. When she fails at this school, I am sure there is a nice cushy job waiting for her at the central office.

I also agree with an earlier post. I can almost bet on who she will hire to replace.
momscomment
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March 06, 2014
What is even more amazing is some of these booster parents children have graduated and they have only remained for Coach rainbow. Does Magee think the white folks that she shows her open hate of are going to stick around and continue to support her new direction. Can she not openly admit that some did not like that coach Rainbow followed the rules and sat those who did not make the grades, no matter what position they played. Those that couldn't pass a drug test if they ever made it over to Athens and Richt sat as well.

Maybe she has plans to hire the Grady coach and his assistants who surely will be given their walking papers within the next week or so. We can read they are her type of coach that ignores the rules but listens to the black mamas and dads. You get more money off free lunchers than those white folks. Just use those white folks for the booster club and to work the snack bar.

As soon as an interim is named as the superintendent their needs to be an all out e-mail and letter writing campaign from parents, max bacon that Campbell does not need this poor example of leadership. Every builder and Developer in Smyrna and Cobb county! the chamber needs to high tale it too the new super or interim and tell them that Denise Magee and dale Gaddis is not the Direction of the Vininings/Cumberland / Smyrna school cluster. They have brought on the redevelopment money with the Braves, they have bought out section 8 housing, they want every school to be like teasley where the parents of vinings can once again send their children. They want principals like Dickerson and Walton get? Not bad EEO experiments like Rivera followed by McGee .
Mr Trump
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March 06, 2014
Is the snack bar hiring?
mageeisacoward
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March 04, 2014
This article is very well written. Fair and honest. Of course Magee doesn't want to be interviewed. She's a coward. She won't even let Coach Rainbow talk to the players. Only bullies behave in that manner. Oh, and those with something to hide.

One thing that struck me is the letter signed by the booster club. "The letter was signed by booster club president Vivian Fussell, vice president Natalie Beavers and treasurer Donna Hawkins." I know all 3 of these ladies and they are wonderful, hard working ladies. No offense at all to them but you would think that a man would be president or VP. This is yet another reason why it was so imperative that Campbell had a father figure in place for the players, if in fact they needed one to provide an extra kick in the pants. Harris Rainbow filled that role and these ladies who were closely involved with the program, recognized that.

Coach Rainbow deserved better then what Magee gave him. He'll land on his feet but it must be disconcerting to do all that work and then have one fool mess it up. The ball is now in Magee's court and we are all waiting and watching to see who she hires. Pretty sure we all know who it will be.

Principal is a Joke
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March 04, 2014
Magee is a joke, she didn't speak to the press of course because she has no ground to stand on. Coach Rainbow will rebound and hopefully see Magee fail like she did at her last 3 schools and fall flat on her face.
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