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Ooltewah coach re-assigned to book depository

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Ooltewah High basketball coach Andre Montgomery. Times Free Press photo Ooltewah High basketball coach Andre Montgomery. Times Free Press photo
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Ooltewah Basketball Coach Andre "Tank" Montgomery is spending this season off the court and away from school property and students, pending a police investigation into the rape of a player.

Channel 3 obtained Montgomery's personnel file through an open records request Wednesday. A letter from Supt. Rick Smith is included and was addressed to the coach Monday, January 11.

Smith's letter states Montgomery has been transferred to the Hamilton County Textbook Depository until all law enforcement and other agencies conclude their investigations into the December rape during a team trip. The depository is the warehouse where textbooks and other teaching materials are stored.

READ MORE | Ooltewah Assault

Smith instructs Montgomery that during this time, he's not allowed to:

  • Initiate contact with HCDE students or staff outside of the textbook department
  • Be present on any Hamilton County school property
  • Be present at any Hamilton County-sponsored event without permission
  • Discuss the events that occurred on December 22, 2015

Smith notes the transfer has no immediate impact on his salary or status with the Hamilton County Dept. of Education.

"I don't want anybody to think he is being punished or penalized at this point," Supt. Smith said in a news conference Monday. "He's being transferred at this point and if we find other reasons to address the coach, we will."

Channel 3 also found out from reviewing his files that Montgomery worked as a 2nd grade teacher at Woodmore Elementary in 2001-02. It was only a temporary position and he would later return to the Hamilton County school system as a teacher and basketball coach at Ooltewah High School where he's been the head coach for two seasons.

Montgomery wrote in an old application about why he chose to pursue a career in public education. He wrote, "The reason I chose public education as a career is because I want to give back to the kids today what was given to me. Along with my parents, some of my teachers, and coaches are the reason I am the person that I am today. In today's society, our kids need more positive role models. I feel that I would be able to mentor, and be a positive figure in the lives of some of our youth. My goal is to one day have my former students return to tell me I had a positive impact on their lives."

Channel 3 decided to review Montgomery's personnel file Wednesday as part of our ongoing investigation to learn as much as possible.

Smith has said no adults committed any wrong-doing during the Gatlinburg incident. Still, more than 1,300 people have signed an online petition asking for the coach's resignation for "failing to protect the child."

The letter from Smith to Montgomery reads:

January 11, 2016

Dear Mr. Montgomery:

This letter will serve as a written notice of my intent to transfer you to the Ham County Textbook Depository, located on site at the former Mary Ann Garber Elementary School. This transfer is effective on the date you receive this letter. This transfer will have no immediate impact on your salary or status with the Hamilton County Department of Education.

The purpose of this transfer is to ensure the efficient operation of Ooltewah High School throughout the upcoming weeks. During your work at Mary Ann Garber, you will report to Mr. Leon Rash, Director of Purchasing. Mr. Rash may be reached at: (423) 209-8551.

While on this assignment, you are directed to initiate no contact with HCDE students or staff outside of the textbook department. Further, you are not to be present on any Ham Co School property or at any Hamilton County-sponsored event without permission.

Your assignment to the textbook depository will continue until such time that law enforcement and all other agencies conclude their investigations. Either I or the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Stacy E. Stewart, will notify you of next steps when this occurs. 

In order to protect the integrity of these investigations, you are directed not to discuss the events that occurred on December 22, 2015 w/ anyone outside of law enforcement, other investigative officials, and the attorneys handling this case.

Should you have any questions regarding this letter, please notify Ms. Stewart at: (423) 209-8538.

Sincerely,

Rick Smith

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