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Coaches organized against common hatred

Basketball coaches from around Suffolk came together to make a video to start the dialogue concerning the racial injustice movement.

Josh Worrell, former head coach of King’s Fork High School, called together coaches from surrounding high schools to see if there was something they could do to help their athletes.

“We know we as coaches have a lot of influence in the community,” said Worrell. “They see us on the court as enemies. Hopefully, they will see us unified over this issue that is so much bigger than basketball.”

The coaches came together to figure out how they could best make a change. They named themselves COACH, Coaches Organized Against Common Hatred. These coaches wanted to find other options other than protests to make their statement.

“We don’t want to march and open the door for possible violence,” said Ed Young, head coach for Nansemond River High School. “The last thing we want is violence to come to our city and make more senseless deaths. We needed to find another option.”

The coaches came together to make a video and to put actions behind their words and beliefs.

“We felt like this was the quickest way for our message to get out,” said Rick Hite, head coach of King’s Fork High School.

After the video posted, a door opened for the coaches to meet with the mayor and police to have a real dialogue.

“We want to mediate between our athletes and the city officials,” said Worrell. “We don’t want them to come to us with questions that we don’t have the proper answers to.”

“The only way things change is by the policymakers,” said Young. “All we can do is talk to them and make them understand what’s happening and change it.”

Young said he knows changing policies unfortunately takes time, but he wants to make sure change is being talked about and not just swept under the rug until the next time something happens. It may be a slow change, but something is being done.

Plans are in the works for the coaches to continue meeting with city officials. Their goal is to have open conversations in hopes of understanding both sides.

“I appreciate all the coaches finding the time to do this and being committed,” said Hite. “I am just humbled and grateful that I can be a part of it.”