PARKLAND, Fla. — Former Hurricane High School football coach Willis May says he’s done at Marjory Stoneman-Douglas High School. May was the head coach at the school now synonymous with the tragedy which claimed the lives of 17 students ant staff members.
“I’m not one for change, so it’s been a hard decision, but man, it’s been a hard year,” May told MetroNews. “I just needed a change for myself.”
Among those killed in the worst school shooting in history were May’s Assistant Coach Aaron Feis and Athletic Director Chris Hixon.
“I miss those guys,” said May. “Their desks are exactly the same way they were on that day. Their wives got some pictures off them, but other than that, they look the same way. I’m miserable every day I go to work.”
May’s program has been in the spotlight ever since the tragedy. ESPN did a reality series on the season and every Friday night was a rough one for May and his team.
“Every team wants to pray with you, every team wants to tell you how sorry they are. I really appreciate that sympathy, but it’s been tough,” said May. “I go to work because I know the kids need me and you try to do a great job for them, but as far as yourself. I’m just miserable.”
The 1200 building on campus where the deadly shooting spree happened still stands empty and surrounded by a high fence. Nobody is allowed in.
“We pass by it every day, all the kids and all the teachers do every day,” May explained. “We all say we’ve got our own cemetery on school grounds.”
May is looking for a change of scenery. For that, he’s making tracks across the state of Florida to the Gulf Coast, closer to his parents. He’s seeking a coaching job in the Fort Meyers area.
“My dad said, ‘You think I can come to practice every day?’ As soon as he said that I was in,” May said. “If I can get my dad to hang out with me every day, come to practice, and tell me what needs to be done, that would be awesome.”