Tenn. coach resigns amid vandalism scandal

Question of the Day

What has been the biggest debacle on Obama's watch?

View results

NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - A botched attempt to fire up a Tennessee high school football team has forced out the head coach and his three assistants _ two of whom are accused of vandalizing their own field house, and the third, who authorities say broke into a rival school to steal the opponent’s playbook.

Marion County Schools superintendent Mark Griffith confirmed Wednesday that head coach Mac McCurry resigned during a meeting with Griffith and the school principal. McCurry also resigned from his job as a physical education teacher.

Mr. McCurry felt it was in his best interest to separate himself from the situation and he resigned,” said Griffith, who added that McCurry might have faced firing if he had not resigned.

“This is truly a shocking and tragic event … very troubling,” Griffith said.

On Nov. 1, administrators arrived to see the Marion County field house defaced before its District 2-A championship game against South Pittsburg, which ended up winning, 35-17. Officials said vulgarities were painted on side doors and the backside of the field house in South Pittsburg’s colors, orange and black. Officials estimated the damage totaled several thousand dollars.

Assistant coach Michael Schmitt was arrested last week on a charge of vandalism of $1,000 to $10,000, and assistant Joe D. Gudger was arrested Tuesday on the same charge, according to the Marion County Circuit Court clerk’s office. Gudger also has been charged with unlawful possession of alcohol on school grounds.

The Associated Press was unable to immediately find phone numbers for Gudger or Schmitt. The AP could not determine if they have lawyers.

Later Tuesday, assistant Tim Starkey was relieved of his coaching duties after it was learned through text message records that he had broken into the field house of cross-town rival South Pittsburg and stolen play sheets and game plans in the week before the game, officials said.

Authorities have not said whether Starkey faces charges, but Griffith said he is being investigated. The Jasper Police Department and Marion County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately return a call to The Associated Press.

Following Schmitt’s arrest, county investigators say they pulled his cellphone records and discovered conversations between Schmitt and other coaches discussing painting the field house and making it look like supporters of South Pittsburg, a school of about 360 students, were the culprits, officials have said.

Officers involved in the arrest have said the vandalism was an attempt to inspire the Marion County team, which is scheduled to compete in a playoff game this Friday. Four assistants remain on the coaching staff, and a search is beginning for a new head coach and physical education teacher for the high school, Griffith said.

Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association assistant executive director Matthew Gillespie said the organization is monitoring the situation and has spoken with officials at the high school and school district. He said any penalties would come only after the investigation is finished.

“We’re going to let the criminal investigation and the justice system work it out first,” Gillespie said.

The saga at Marion County High School, a school of about 500 students, is the latest ugly headline in a recent run of bad behavior by football players and coaches from the pros on down.

In a bullying scandal in Florida, a Miami Dolphins player has alleged he was harassed daily by teammates.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player
You Might Also Like
  • Nathan Walker waits to take the ice during the Capitals' development camp at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington on Monday, July 9, 2012. (Ryan M.L. Young/The Washington Times)

    Nathan Walker’s NHL dreams send him around the world

  • Washington Nationals' Anthony Rendon, third from left, smiles as he warms up with his teammates who were were wearing t-shirts in support of him for the All Star game before an interleague baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Nationals Park, Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Anthony Rendon not an All-Star, but he’s been Nats’ MVP

  • Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter speaks during a media availability in the dugout before an interleague baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Monday, July 7, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    LOVERRO: Suck-up Buck Showalter needs history lesson

  • Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez, left, celebrates with goalkeeper Sergio Romero after scoring the decisive goal during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout to reach the World Cup final. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    Argentina beats Dutch in shootout to reach World Cup final

  • Washington Redskins safety Tanard Jackson speaks during a media availability after an NFL football training camp practice at Redskins Park, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Tanard Jackson suspended indefinitely by NFL — again

  • Celebrities In The News
  • Hall of Fame Inductees, KISS, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, Gene Simmons, and Ace Frehley speak at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Thursday, April, 10, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

    KISS rocker Gene Simmons touts 1 percent life: ‘It’s fantastic’

  • This image from video released by Funny Or Die shows President Obama, left, with actor-comedian Zach Galifianakis during an appearance on "Between Two Ferns," the digital short with a laser focus on reaching people aged 18 to 34. The president urged young people to sign up for the new health care plan through an appearance posted Tuesday, March 11, 2014, on the comic website Funny or Die, bypassing TV talk show titans like Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel for an online audience. (AP Photo/Funny Or Die)

    Obama’s ‘Ferns’ interview gets Emmy nod

  • ** FILE ** In this Nov. 12, 2013, file photo, actor Alec Baldwin leaves court in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

    Alec Baldwin in talks to play Rob Ford-like mayor in new NBC drama