On Monday afternoon, the Columbus High School boys’ basketball team received its state championship rings commemorating its Class 6A tournament win this spring.
By Monday evening, the team’s head coach, Anthony Carlyle, had resigned — necessitating the program’s fifth coaching change in as many years.
Carlyle submitted his resignation letter on July 9 to CHS Principal Lori Cargile, and the Columbus Municipal School District Board of Trustees accepted it Monday. Carlyle, after coaching just one season at CHS, will assume the Yazoo City School District’s athletic coordinator and boys’ basketball coach positions.
“It is not a bad relationship, or it is not anything they did or I did,” Carlyle told The Dispatch. “The opportunity presented itself, and I respect they’re going to let me pursue my dreams. If the opportunity wouldn’t have come last week, I still would be coach at Columbus for the upcoming year. The opportunity came around and opportunities like that don’t come around very often.”
If Carlyle had returned, his total compensation would have been $58,500 — including his teacher pay and supplements for coaching basketball, cross-country, powerlifting and serving as an athletic supervisor. That would have only been $100 less than when he was hired in 2017, due to the athletic supervisor supplement dropping from $3,100 to $3,000.
But in Carlyle’s resignation letter, he cites a “significant reduction in my salary after not having the off contract days I had last year.”
Board President Jason Spears said the district paid Carlyle $8,436 (at a rate of $228 for 37 days) for additional work he did with the team before his contract officially took effect Aug. 1. Since Carlyle would have been under contract for that time this year, he would not have received the extra payment.
Carlyle also cited in his resignation letter he would be leaving due to a promotion and “significant salary increase” from another school.
“The opportunity that he’s been offered at Yazoo School, they were going to be able to give him a promotion, … a different position in addition to being a coach,” Spears said. “An increase where he would be making about $70,000 a year. We wouldn’t be able to really match those numbers.
“It is not ideal to have a turnover but we certainly understand with him that he’s pursuing career opportunities that are outside of what we can do here at CMSD,” he added. “Just like anybody, we want them to do what they feel is best for their career and their family.”
The Dispatch could not confirm Carlyle’s salary offer from Yazoo City School District by press time.
Though CHS boys’ basketball has endured four coaching changes in four years — with a fifth on the horizon — the program has won two state championships in that span (2016 and 2018) and made the Class 6A playoffs all four seasons.
Sammy Smith coached the team in 2015 before becoming athletic director. Then followed one-year stints from Luther Riley and Gary Griffin before Carlyle came on-board.
Hiring a new basketball coach will fall to Joe Garrett, the assistant CHS principal who also took on interim athletic director duties after Smith retired in May.
Superintendent Cherie Labat said Garrett will serve the dual-role until further notice, as there is no search underway for a permanent athletic director.
Labat also complimented Carlyle’s accomplishments as a coach and administrator.
“It was an asset to have Mr. Carlyle as a basketball coach for Columbus Municipal School District,” Labat said. “He will be missed. He has dreams and aspirations and we can’t hold him back from moving forward. We wish him well.”
Dispatch Sports Editor Adam Minichino contributed to this report.
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