High School Football Clover

Clover Blue Eagles move on after football coach leaves

Clover names assistant John Barrett interim head coach after Devine’s unexpected departure

bbyers@heraldonline.comSeptember 19, 2012 

— John Devine’s short stay as Clover’s football coach was a series of road bumps.

No more. But Devine said Wednesday he is not finished coaching, a day after sitting down with Clover’s administration and resigning.

“God has given me opportunities, and I’m sure there will be more,” Devine said. “I’ve already heard from one school and there are always teams out there that need help.

“I’m in the right place where I can make a good decision the next time an opportunity comes around. I wish the best for Clover football, the players and hope they get the success they deserve.”

Assistant John Barrett was named interim coach.

“His resume speaks for itself; unfortunately, things did not turn out as we all envisioned, and we respect his decision,” Clover Principal Mark Hopkins said of Devine. “We wish him and his family only the best in the future.”

Devine came last year from South Point High in Belmont, N.C., to replace Jet Turner. In his years at Clover, Turner ran a successful double wing-T offense that always gave the smaller Blue Eagles a chance to win.

In 2007, Turner led Clover to the Class AAAA Division II state championship.

Devine led South Point to two North Carolina championships and 10 conference titles. He had a 137-55-1 record in 15 seasons, but there were unconfirmed rumblings that the returning Clover players were upset because Devine changed the offense they had learned growing up.

Then there was the reported hazing incident last season. Three players alleged that several older players held them inside the locker room and threatened to assault them. Evidence determined it didn’t happen

Clover’s administration expelled 10 players from the varsity team midway through last season after the three athletes reported that they were assaulted. Authorities later found no evidence of a crime and did not file charges.

The Blue Eagles had won two games at the time and did not win another after the incident. Replacement players were brought up and Clover had to suspend its junior varsity program for a year.

Numbers were low this season, with only 60 players suited up. With numbers that low and playing in Class AAAA, Clover was forced to drop its ninth-grade team.

And this season, two of Clover’s top players moved to York and now start for the 4-0 Cougars.

Devine stepped down with a 2-13 record. Clover is 0-4 this season and has been blown out in each game.

“This is not the course of action we envisioned a year ago, nor were the results [what] we all had hoped for those months ago,” Devine said in a prepared statement released Tuesday. “I would like to thank the administration, faculty and staff at Clover High for all their cooperation and support. Most of all I would like to thank the players, my fellow coaches and their families for all the hard work and sacrifices over this past year and a half.”

Barrett is a former assistant at Chester, Northwestern and York. He stepped down as York’s head coach three years ago. He returned to Northwestern and moved to Clover this season.

“This is about the kids, not about me. It is what it is and it just happened,” Barrett said. “Coach Devine’s resignation caught all of us by surprise. I have to see what I can do to see that things keep moving.

“And I can’t be worried about the ‘interim’ tag. My job is to get our team ready for Nation Ford on Friday. We’ve got to keep working hard and try to improve, which is keeping it going.”

Barry Byers 329-4099

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