Former Richmond Hill High School football coach Lyman Guy didn’t mince words when asked why he left a program he’d turned into a Savannah-area powerhouse to take the job as head coach and athletic director at Toombs County, a school that competes in a smaller classification.
“Toombs was closer to home and it was a significant pay raise,” said Guy, who made $74,000 in 2013 and led the Wildcats to their first back-to-back winning seasons and state playoff appearances in the program’s history.
As for the pay raise, it’s unclear what Guy will make at Toombs County.
His predecessor, Stephen Versprille, was paid more than $78,000 in 2013, but more than $50,000 of that came from his job as an instructional specialist in Dublin, according to opengeorgia.gov.
Versprille was let go in December after only one season due to an affair with a school administrator.
In 2012, Toombs paid Versprille’s predecessor, Shane Williamson, more than $92,000. Without coaching supplements in 2013, Williamson’s salary was slightly more than $67,000, according to opengeorgia.gov.
Guy, who has a career mark of 75-54 and has won two state Georgia Independent School Association state titles at Robert Toombs Christian Academy a decade ago, was 28-15 at RHHS.
Guy, who spent long hours commuting from his home near Vidalia to Richmond Hill, also said Friday he thought coaching supplements in Bryan County were too low.
That probably comes as no surprise to school officials, who are studying both coaching supplements — money paid to coaches and other teachers who work outside normal school hours — and salaries for employees in the system who don’t teach.
At a recent Bryan County Board of Education meeting, the board spent more than an hour wading through pay data for everyone from custodians to coaches as they began preparations for the system’s 2015 budget year.
And various board members have said they favor higher supplements for coaches — though finding the money could be difficult.
At a January work session, a local businessman told the board private sources might help make up the difference to keep winning coaches, noting both Guy and Bryan County High School head football coach Mark Wilson were likely being recruited by other schools. Wilson hasn’t said whether he’s had offers.
But Guy also had good things to say about his former job and his staff, noting there were qualified candidates to take his job already at RHHS.
“I believe there are several great candidates on staff — but more importantly, I believe it’s a great staff to try to keep intact,” he said.
Read more in the Feb. 5 edition of the News.