Ooltewah students rally in support of former basketball coach - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Ooltewah students rally in support of former basketball coach

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OOLTEWAH, TN (WRCB) -

Several students at Ooltewah High School are voicing their support for former teacher and basketball coach Andre "Tank" Montgomery. 

Montgomery, also known as "Coach T,"  is considered a favorite among some students. A group of upperclassmen shared their feelings about the teacher and coach. 

"Personally, I want to be a teacher," OHS Senior Hanna Matthews said, "He's one of those people, 'Hey, that's what you should look like. That's how you need to treat your kids.'"

"Usually he will be at the basketball games cheering us on, giving me tips or even on the softball field. And it's just weird not having him there at every game," OHS Junior Tiera Lemon added. 

Hamilton County School Superintendent Rick Smith transferred Montgomery Monday to a non-teaching position while the investigation continues into the rape of basketball player. Smith was adamant the most was not to punish or penalize the coach. 

Ooltewah High School Junior Aubbie Collake is trying to bring Coach T back through a petition she's started online. She will later share it with Hamilton County School Board members. 

"He's one of the best coaches, he's one of the best teachers," she said, "He cares for all of his students. I think we all need him here." 

As a player on the girl's basketball team, Collake says it's been hard for her, her teammates and many at Ooltewah to cope with what happened in Gatlinburg but doesn't believe Coach T should be held responsible. 

"They're also 16 and 17 year olds. I mean, we know know how to act and what to do so I think they should be held responsible," Collake added. 

For now, classmates have taken to social media to show their support for the victim as he continues to recover at home. 

"The whole school, I mean anybody, whether they play basketball or they play football, even if they don't play a sport they're there for him and that's good to see," OHS Junior Brooks Tryon added. 

The petition supporting Coach T already has more than 200 signatures.

READ MORE | UPDATE: Online petitions gathering momentum after Ooltewah rape 

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