Dalton Football Coach Matt Land disciplined for "rough handling" of player
DALTON, WHITFIELD COUNTY (WRCB) - According to Dalton school officials, Dalton High School head football coach Matt Land has been placed on probationary status through the completion of next year's football season.
The school administration said it made the decision Monday following the investigation of an allegation of rough handling of a player during Friday night's game.
Although officials say the decision was made Monday, they were tight-lipped, and in meetings throughout the day Tuesday, refusing to comment or return messages.
In an emailed statement principal Debbie Freeman writes, "During halftime in the locker room Coach Land, in an action calculated to motivate his players, grabbed one player by the shoulder pads with the intent to pull him up from a chair and address a perceived lack of intensity by the team. Coach Land's action was not directed toward the individual player nor was his action committed in anger." (Note: some reports say the player unintentionally slipped to the floor and appeared to have been shoved to the ground by Coach Land.)
The statement continues, "Following the game the school administration reviewed the incident and addressed the situation with Coach Land, the player and his parents, and the full football team. Coach Land regrets his actions and has a clear understanding of expectations for his interaction with players and students at Dalton High School."
Principal Freeman concludes, "I know this was an isolated incident and I fully support him and his efforts with our football program."