WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Before Washington County, Tennessee school administrators suspended David Crockett High School Football Coach Gerald Sensabaugh, they warned him about unprofessional conduct, his reported use of profanity and his failure to alert his immediate supervisors about safety concerns, according to disciplinary records.
Administrators say Coach Sensabaugh only brought up concerns of his own after they raised questions about his conduct.
“He never brought any allegations directly to the principal until after he was called in on separate questions,” Director of Schools Kimber Halliburton said.
Coach Sensabaugh declined an on-camera interview to discuss the allegations, but by phone denied all of them.
“Yes, they’re lying about that,” he said. “This is all ‘He said, she said.'”
His first disciplinary letter, dated October 5, raised concerns about him using expletives on the sidelines to describe his players, which he said he’s never done.
“No, I have never said that,” he said. “I’ve never cussed at them.”
In addition, the letter accused him of practicing a student deemed too injured to play or practice, which he also denied. He said he only did about 10 minutes of what he considers rehab work with the boy.
The letter also raised questions about why he didn’t report safety concerns to his immediate supervisors, which is a concern that came up again when administrators say he accused his supervisor of trying to sell him pain pills and mentioned a gun on campus, but never alerted them or police.
A letter of reprimand, issued earlier this week, called his conduct toward students and staff unpredictable, unprofessional, accusatory and hostile. In the letter, the district said that claim is backed up by interviews with assistant coaches and a student, who reportedly told the principal many of the players are afraid of their coach. The coach said the player was likely upset because of a lack of playing time.
“(That’s a student) that doesn’t get to play much,” Coach Sensabaugh said.
In general terms, Coach Sensabaugh addressed many of the allegations throughout the week.
“They’re putting me on leave about some crazy concerns…,” he said earlier this week. “…It could be a couple kids that don’t play that want to stir the pot up…This is crazy though. This is a bunch of fabricated truths, extremely fabricated.”
Coach Sensabaugh, a former NFL player, said this is all the result of retaliation. He said the district’s trying to make an example out of him for speaking up about problems within the school system, which the district denies.
He remains suspended indefinitely pending a review by an independent law firm. That law firm is also reviewing allegations against DCHS Athletic Director Josh Kite, who is also suspended. However, Halliburton said there is no evidence Kite did anything wrong.
“It’s just an allegation,” she said.
Before these suspensions, administrators suspended another DCHS employee while they investigate roughly $2,000 in missing football fundraising dollars. Halliburton confirmed an unnamed school employee is on leave while the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury’s Office investigates the missing money. Halliburton said the discipline occurred a month ago and the employee in question has since retained an attorney.
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