Superintendent and school board to decide coach's fate

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

News 12 at 11, November 13, 2007

EVANS, Ga. --- Lakeside football coach Jody Grooms has been removed from the position of athletic director by Superintendent Charles Nagle after calling an illegal play during the last game of the season.

It was a bad call on the field that has left the Columbia County superintendent and Board of Education with a very tough call ahead.

The illegal play, named the Heisman, called by Lakeside Coach Jody Grooms is now a YouTube sensation, but it could cost the coach his job.

In the trick play, run in the last minute of the final game of the Panthers' season versus Effingham County, a receiver runs off to the sideline after the ball is in motion, the ball is thrown, and 40 yards down the field, another receiver runs on the field to try and catch it.

It didn't work and the team lost their final game of the season to
Effingham County.

Today, the Columbia County School Board met behind closed doors with the Superintendent to consider the coach's future.

"It's just a tough situation," says Columbia County Superintendent Charles Nagle.

A tough one indeed for everyone involved.

"As a parent of one of those children involved in that play, I'm more concerned about the hate coming from this community toward the coach then this one trick play-or that cheat play," says parent Tami Pye.

"We can't even concentrate in class. I mean I love him and the best thing about my senior year was playing for him," cries Chris Morris, a senior football player for Lakeside.

Senior Center Andrew Pridgen says, "He's been here for a year and probably the biggest impact of my life."

But what about the impact firing Coach Grooms will have?

Superintendent Nagle and the School Board are considering just that.

School Board Chair Regina Buccafusco says, "People make very stupid, self-destructive decisions, and now we have to decide how bad that decision is and how much of an effect it will have on the community."

"This is a very serious situation. We take it very seriously and there will be some severe action. To what degree? That just been very difficult for us to make that decision up to this point," adds Superintendent Nagle.

And what about the Lakeside community? One by one players and parents rallied behind their coach.

"Give the man some credit for the good he has done. Give him his punishment. And let coach grooms continue to move our athletic program forward," says one parent.

But not everyone was there in support. "Is the right thing to fire Coach Grooms? I don't know. But I think he is sorry because he got caught. And I just need to know if I send my son out there next year he isn't going to teach him to be a cheater," adds another parent.

For now a man used to calling the plays will have to sit it out on the sidelines.

"It's out of our hands and we'll respect the decision of the board, the superintendent, principal, and administrator. This is a special place. If we can call this home next year, we'll be honored and privileged and feel extremely lucky," says Coach Grooms.

Grooms is still the football coach at Lakeside. Superintendent Nagle expects to have his decision on any further action by the end of the week, then the board will have to vote to approve it.

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  • by Lynda Location: Martinez on Nov 15, 2007 at 04:38 AM
    It is shameful to think that keeping this man as a teacher or coach is even being considered. Is this what we are teaching our children. We cannot pray in schools, but we can teach them to cheat. I applaud those who are working to get him removed from any position where he will have the ability and opportunity to influence our children!
    • reply
      by ronnie bass on Jul 14, 2012 at 02:26 PM in reply to Lynda
      he is a coach and a damn good one. people just love to drag somone down any chance they get. no one remembers all the good he has done for this team and community. and linda you have never sweated and bled with a man inthe trenches so you know nothing about teamwork trust and loyalty. grooms does. he made one bad decision and you WANT TO CRUCIFY HIM how many bad decisions have you made in life. or you are just up set that your life is meaningless and the decisions you made noone cares about. thats why you enjoy bringing someone else down quote the birdman
  • by Richard Location: Grovetown on Nov 14, 2007 at 01:05 PM
    Teachers teaching students to cheat should no longer be teachers. There has to be a clear set of ethics, and academic cheating has been a no-no for students since education was formalized. So having an adult teaching a student to cheat is in the wrong profession. Did he have a lapse in good judgement, absolutely! Are all lapses in judgement cause for dismissal, absolutely not. But cheating has no place in an academic environment and educators should not condone or teach it.
  • by G L Location: Martinez on Nov 14, 2007 at 10:48 AM
    As a Lakeside parent this is unbelievable. We have some of the same parents that signed and filed a petition to have the previous coach removed, standing up and supporting a coach that blatantly ran an ILLEGAL play. Is this how we are raising our children? WIN, no matter the cost! I'm not a football parent but as a parent, I believe there are better things to teach our players. I'm not interested in seeing the coach lose his job, but there needs to be a penalty for his actions. If not, were teaching the players you can possibly get away with stunts like this!
    • reply
      by ronnie bass on Jul 14, 2012 at 02:29 PM in reply to G L
      you are not a football parent. i expect you would notknow anything about it then so you worry about your chess player and leave real sports to real people quote the bird man
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