Posted: Feb 5, 2013 8:39 PM by Richie Melby - MTN News
Dozens of community members in Simms turned up for a public forum on Monday night to voice their concern and opinions regarding the idea of possibly hiring former Montana State University assistant coach Joe O'Brien.
O'Brien was arrested in 2003 on felony drug charges after being accused of possessing methamphetamines with the intent to sell.
The former collegiate and NFL athlete served more than two years in prison as well as six years on federal probation - but says he has since turned his life around and wants to return to coaching.
O'Brien: "The reason that I want to coach here is because of the kids. I almost wish that I didn't get to coach them for those five days last year so I wouldn't be attached to them. The purest, most passionate thing I've ever done is coached the game of football. Or played it. The one thing that I can maybe give these kids, is something a little different than football. Maybe it's a life experience."
Several community members voiced their displeasure about the possibility of O'Brien becoming their coach - with many stating "we shouldn't even be here" - but perhaps the most valuable voice on Monday night - belonged to state championship-winning volleyball coach Molly Pasma - who held the kids and parents accountable.
Pasma: "A coach does not make a team, we've heard it 100 times. It is the kids, the parents and the commitment. We are getting to where parents are taking family trips (on) the day two-a-days start, but you expect us to win championships. You have us going on family vacations over Christmas, I can't remember the last time I left the gym over Christmas vacation, because I'm dedicated and that's what I do. That's how you win, those kids do the job and you parents support them."
In the end - the school board, superintendent and community of Simms have a big decision to make - and Joe O'Brien knows his future with the Tigers football team lies in their hands.
O'Brien: "All I can do is tell you who I am, where I'm at in life and that I'm moving forward with or without this job, but I want to be here, I'll tell you that right now, I want to be here. I want to coach this football team, coach these kids and bring this town together. It's going to be really up to you guys and the board, the superintendent to decide. It's up to you."