YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A community of people is rallying behind a Youngstown coach for his efforts with the youth despite some recent mistakes.
Randy Triplett is a coach for the Youngstown Little Bears, an all-new football team for kids in kindergarten through sixth grade that’s completely free.
“When Randy and I met, and I started to get to know this young man, I said, ‘This is the guy that I want to represent the team that I’m going to sponsor,’” said Kenneth Donaldson, a sponsor of the team.
Donaldson says he doesn’t know anyone else who could come in and do what Triplett has done with the kids. From outings to church, science centers and colleges to giving the children guidance and picking them up for games and practices, Donaldson says Triplett is helping the kids in endless ways.
“He’s a natural leader, he’s extremely infectious. Randy is extremely wise, he’s a great father. He’s a great leader. One of the things that makes great leaders is that when you mess up, you can say, ‘You know what, that wasn’t a good choice, that wasn’t a good decision. I’m gonna have to correct that,’ and Randy has all of those attributes,” Donaldson said.
Recently, Triplett was arrested and convicted on a gun charge. But, Donaldson says he is a good man and should not be judged off of past mistakes.
“Randy should not be tied to his past bad decisions, but to his potential. What he’s done with this team is nothing short of miraculous. God has used Randy in a powerful way… If you have no sin, then stone him. But if you’ve sinned in your life, then it’s probably good that you just remain silent,” Donaldson said.
People on social media have taken to Triplett’s defense as well, with hundreds of posts being shared in support of him and some sharing stories of how he has stepped up to help.
Recently, a decision was made by the Austintown Youth Football League to forfeit their playoff game against the team citing their “players’ best interest.” But some feel Randy’s arrest was a motive in the decision, as well as a fear to play in the inner city.
Donaldson says if this is the case, he hopes parents will speak out.
“I would challenge them to stand up because those are Youngstown kids in Austintown. I mean, Austintown would not be the force that they are without Youngstown kids,” Donaldson said.
First News has reached out to coaches and organizers from the Austintown league but has not heard back.