4 Marion Co football coaches off the job following vandalism
JASPER, TN (WRCB) - Shocking developments continue to unfold in the Marion County football scandal. Four coaches are off the job, including head coach Mac McCurry, who resigned Wednesday morning.
It all began in the early morning hours of November 1, when the Marion County football field house was vandalized. It wasn't until weeks later we learned the culprits were allegedly their own coaches.
"That's a great way to overcome adversity." That's what Assistant Coach Joe Dan Gudger said as he talked to the Warriors last Friday. It was just a few days after Assistant Coach Michael Schmitt was arrested. He's charged with vandalizing their own field house the day of the South Pittsburg game. Wal-Mart surveillance cameras captured him buying a hefty load of spray paint.
"Don't talk about him. Support him. That's everybody. This is a community thing, and we're going to support him," Gudger said to players.
Head Coach Mac McCury also expressed his pride.
"A lot of clutter this week and they put it aside and overcame it we're very proud of them," McCurry said last Friday.
But by Tuesday, Gudger was arrested and charged in connection with the vandalism, too. Volunteer Assistant Coach Tim Starkey was relieved from his duties.
"We got two victims. We got two schools with a bunch of students that have been accused, and we've got grown adults that made some bad decisions. They just made bad decisions," Marion County Sheriff Ronnie Burnett said.
But it wouldn't stop there. Head Coach Mac McCurry was pulled into it when investigators pulled cell phone records showing texts between Schmitt and Starkey about if they'd go through with the vandalism. Starkey saying "we don't need all that to win."
Schmitt saying he didn't want McCurry getting mad if they didn't. "Is he wanting it done that bad," Starkey texted. Schmitt answered, "yes."
Then several other texts show Schmitt admitting to buying the paint and when they got together to carry it out.
"Tell Joe Dan let's do it at 4," Schmitt texted.
"Ya'll done yet," Starkey wrote. "Just now," Schmitt replied.
"I'd have to say it's absolutely a slap in the face," Marion County Director of Schools Mark Griffith said.
Head Coach Mac McCurry resigned Wednesday morning.
"There was some emotion there. he just felt it was best interest of the program to separate himself from the situation I think," Griffith said.
"The last thing he told me was to tell the boys I love them," Marion County High School Principal Larry Ziegler said.
McCurry has not been charged with any crime.
"Right now we don't have enough to feel like he could be charged, but yes, he has been part of the investigation," Sheriff Burnett said.
The Warriors were out practicing Wednesday night with stand-in coaches.