Whenever there’s an investigation into the background of a 55-year-old high school employee with three names, you know it’s likely to involve at least one of three things:
1) Some manner of electronic monitoring device.
2) Hiring oversight akin to the Clippers on draft day.
(Ellen DeGeneres stars in Life After People: 2032)
This weekend the ST. PETERSBURG (FL) TIMES provided us with a relentlessly accurate glimpse into the high school basketball coaching career of a 55-year-old man named Stephen Ray Thompson. Thompson was recently fired as coach of a local high school after his resume was found to be a little more than mildly inaccurate.
SPT on Thompson:
He boasts of 407 wins during decades of coaching at high schools in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Florida. He says he has guided numerous teams deep into state playoffs, won an Associated Press Coach of the Year award in Tennessee and taught future pro Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway and other young stars.
A closer look by the St. Petersburg Times, however, reveals that much of the information on his resume is either embellished or fictitious. He claims, for example, to have won a total of 80 games at two schools in Tennessee that do not exist. The AP in Tennessee does not award coach of the year honors.
And when reached by the Times, Hardaway, a former Orlando Magic star, said, “I have no idea who this cat is. I’ve never heard of him.”
The piece is an embarrassment of riches the context of which I don’t want to ruin by extensively excerpting it.
Though it’s worth noting to those of you who also go O’Leary on occasion, avoiding unprompted embellishment of your imaginary accomplishments to local newspaper reporters might not be advisable:
In January, unsolicited, Thompson approached a Times reporter to say that the 401 victories on his resume was an accurate number. Later, Thompson referred to a season in which he coached “Country Day” in Memphis, Tenn., to a 10-18 finish and a berth in the state’s “Elite 8.”
Country Day High School in Memphis? Of course it doesn’t exist.
But I am happy to report that based on his defense of such actions, Thompson has a bright future ahead of him as a criminal defense attorney:
As for the questions about his background, he wrote, “I would think any reputable school system would have checked my credentials before I was hired, wouldn’t you? I have always been able to get coaching jobs without any problem. Maybe they know something you don’t know.”
Misstating the circumstances of the Pasco job offer, Thompson also wrote: “If I was hired by Gulf and Springstead, I am confident they checked my credentials and found them to be authentic since I got the jobs.”
Still can’t believe Penny threw dude under the bus.