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Coach Tillman set to start fall workouts Monday, believes kids and parents are on board

Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 9:46 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -Loren Tillman says he and his Rutherford football players are looking ahead, moving forward, in anticipation of the start of fall practice this coming Monday

That start date the result of that marathon FHSAA Board of Directors meeting Monday, that meeting ending with a vote to go ahead with the schedule as is, which has July 27th as the start of

fall workouts. So swimming, golf, volleyball and football can officially start practice as scheduled Monday.

Many coaches I've talked to cheering that decision, including Rutherford head coach Loren Tillman. He says given everything kids in our area have been through the last two years, well it's a big deal to at least have the choice to play on!

"Athletics is definitely a big part of what these young men and women do as part of their high school careers." coach Tillman told me Tuesday afternoon. "And for them to at least be given the opportunity to have a choice right now, that is important. Some will choose to participate and I'm sure there's some parents that will choose not. But at the same time for those ones that do choose to participate, for us to give them that opportunity to come out and compete and have that part of a normal high school experience."

The bay district office is going along with that start date Monday, putting out a simple email informing us of that. It is asking coaches to follow the phase two protocols. Coach Tillman says they'll do whatever it takes as they move forward.

I asked him if he thinks parents and players are ready to start, if they seem worried about the risks in practicing and playing?

"Well right now all we can really base it on as what our summer attendance numbers are." the coach told me. "And I felt like if the parents have big concerns then they're not going to allow their sons to attend the summer workouts. Right now our numbers have been good for what we expected for the varsity bunch. For the most part those varsity players are here.."

And the coach feels a big part of that equation is the coaching staff adhering strictly to the safety protocols.

"So I'm feeling that the parents are pretty confident that we are doing everything we can possibly do. And the different things that we are trying to do to make sure that they stay in a safe, clean environment. That they see those things are being done so they're supportive of those young man doing that. I feel like if there was concerns then our summer numbers would would reflect that, but they don't."

Coach Tillman says he knows all this is subject to change, be it at the state level, the FHSAA, the district. He says he’ll do whatever he’s told to in terms of playing, not playing. But until he hears otherwise, he’s full speed ahead in preparing for Monday’s start.

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