ROCKINGHAM — County Manager Rick Sago clarified the intentions of Raider football coach Paul Hoggard and Richmond Senior High School Principal Keith McKenzie regarding the proposed youth football program.
During the planning session held April 15, Hoggard and McKenzie discussed the idea of a youth football program in front of the county commissioners. The proposed program would cost around $50,000 to get started.
The Richmond County Daily Journal reported on April 16 stating that Hoggard and McKenzie had requested that the commissioners fund the program, but Sago said that was not the case.
“There has been some confusion that they (Hoggard and McKenzie) asked the commissioners for $50,000,” Sago said Monday. “That was not the case.”
Sago said that he re-watched the meeting and at no point did Hoggard and McKenzie make a request.
“They didn’t ask for money,” Sago said. “They were just giving an overview of what they thought needed to be done.”
Sago said that Hoggard and McKenzie would likely accept money if it was given to them, but that was not their intentions when approaching the commissioners. Sago said that conversations following the planning session confirmed that the presentation was to provide information to the county.
The $50,000 would cover the first year of the league’s operation. That figure includes $10 per player in the flag football league and $36,000 marked for those in the tackle league; $100 for a helmet, $100 for shoulder pads and $100 for pants and pads per player. Those two numbers plus $13,000 for incidentals totals the $50,000.
County Commissioner Kenneth Robinette agreed with Sago that the presentation was for informational purposes only.
“In no way were they trying to take money away from academics,” Robinette said.
Robinette said the program would be offered as an alternative to the Hamlet youth football program which starts in November when it is cold. Robinette said that the figure was to be expected because, in comparison to other youth sports, football is more expensive. Robinette said that all the coaches for the program would be volunteers, and that the program would greatly benefit the youth in the county.
“The main thing is to get these kids off the street,” Robinette said. “A lot of these kids don’t have a male role model in their life, and they can learn a lot about life by playing sports. They can learn about adversity, discipline and teamwork.”
County Commissioner Thad Ussery agreed with Robinette.
“I think the program is a great idea,” Ussery said. “They (Hoggard and McKenzie) weren’t asking us for funds, but I think businesses around the county have expressed interest in supporting the program.”
Hoggard and McKenzie could not be reached at presstime.