UPDATE: Lincoln County's Larry Campbell arrested after BOE meeting fight

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Coach Campbell

Larry Campbell (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o' clock/ May 14, 2014

LINCOLN COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- Larry Campbell is known for his team's success on the football field, but he's now getting attention off the field.

He's accused of simple battery after allegedly grabbing a man's shirt collar after a fight broke out at a Board of Education meeting.

Coach Campbell announced his retirement April 25 after spending 44 years as the head coach of Lincoln County's football team. He's won 11 state titles and also serves as the athletic director. His son, Brian Campbell serves as the Superintendent of Lincoln County Schools.

Coach Campbell's last days as coach haven't gone as smoothly as expected, though. He turned himself into authorities on simple battery charges Tuesday morning.

It was a packed house during a heated Board of Education meeting Monday night. The community was expecting the board to make an important personnel decision, but when that didn't make it on the agenda, the crowd got upset.

"My father was offended by some of the things that were being said about me as a superintendent, and as I think any father would, he felt that he needed to take up for me," Brian Campbell says.

An incident report says the victim made the comment '...this is on you Dr. Campbell. You are the one who caused this...' directed to the Superintendent. That's when witnesses say Coach Campbell stormed across the room.

Gary Norman witnessed the events unfold at the meeting.

"When he ran by me, he grabbed the guy in the shirt collar," Norman said.

Norman says he pulled his wife out of the coach's path because he could see trouble coming.

"When I saw what happened, I reach for her to get her out of the way because I didn't want her getting hurt," he said.

An incident report says the Coach told the victim, 'he would kill him that he called his son a liar and he would not talk to his son that way.'

"Everyone tries to protect their own kids, but I believe as adults, we should know when and where it helps," Norman said.

"He regrets the action, as far as being arrested, however, I can't emphasize enough, I think he was doing what any father would, and I don't think he regrets that decision," Brian Campbell said.

The police chief says at this point, no other witnesses have corroborated the victim's story about the verbal threats. So Coach Campbell is only being charged with simple battery at this time.

Original story

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

LINCOLN COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- Lincoln County's former coach, Larry Campbell, was charged with simple battery after a fight at Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting, the Lincolnton Police Department said.

Witnesses said the alleged victim stood up and accused Larry Campbell's son, the school superintendent, at Tuesday night's BOE meeting, a report said.

"This is on you, [Brian Campbell]. You are the one who caused this and you are sitting there not even saying anything," the victim told deputies he said at the meeting.

Witnesses said Larry Campbell then stood up, grabbed the victim by his shirt collar, pointed a finger in his face and threatened to kill him if he called his son a liar, a report said.

"Larry Campbell came through the crowd and grabbed [the victim] by the shirt collar and pointed his finger in his face and stated that he would kill him, that he called his son a liar and he would not talk to his son that way," according to the victim's statement in a report.

A judge released Campbell on a $5,000 bond after turning himself in Wednesday morning.

Interim chief of Lincolnton Police Gene Poss said officers separated people at the meeting and took witness statements. Lincolnton police are still investigating the 9:30 p.m. fight.

"This investigation is handled no differently from anybody else out here. He's going to be treated the same as the average Joe blow on the street," Poss said.

Larry Campbell retired as the head football coach in April, but school officials said he is still on the payroll until the end of the school year.


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