The TSSAA has accepted Marion County High School's self-imposed penalties and closed the case related to violations that occurred before the Warriors football game with South Pittsburg in November.
MCHS principal Larry Ziegler cancelled spring practice, and extended the summer "dead period" from two-to-four weeks.
The TSSAA's executive director Bernard Childress said, "the TSSAA accepts the action taken by the Marion County High School administration. Because of the steps taken by the school, we find no need to take any further disciplinary action. The case is being closed accordingly."
The only part of the case the TSSAA had jurisdiction over was Marion County's use of a college player, former Pirate player Raquis Hale, during practice in the week before the game with the Pirates.
In his statement, Childress said, "according to the information submitted, a few coaches allegedly broke into the field house at South Pittsburg High School and took some game film and playbooks. This situation has been turned over to the police department. It is a criminal case involving school personnel which is beyond the authority of TSSAA. However, it is our understanding that the coaches involved have been relieved of their coaching duties at the school."
Head coach Mac McCurry resigned and has left the Marion County school district. Assistant coaches Joe Dan Gudger and Michael Schmitt are on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of the investigation by the Marion County Sheriff's department and a court hearing later this month. Volunteer assistant coach Tim Starkey, another former South Pittsburg player, was relieved of his duties.
All of the coaches allegedly played a part in a variety of incidents, including the painting of the Marion County field house with South Pittsburg colors in an apparent attempt to "fire up" the Warriors for the game. The coaches also allegedly stole playbooks and game film from opponents locker rooms.By Darrell Patterson