Officials want time to discuss coaching decision

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 24, 2004

DHS Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Doug Goodwin released Demopolis High School Assistant Football Coach Jesse Bell of his assistant football coaching duties earlier this week.

Bell, who is also the head basketball coach at DHS, was not terminated from DHS and will continue as the DHS head basketball coach.

When asked for specifics on the decision, Goodwin said it was inappropriate to comment.

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Demopolis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Wesley Hill supported Goodwin’s decision to keep the issue within the athletic department.

According to Hill, the situation surrounding Bell has not yet been through “the complete process.”

Under Alabama law, public officials are exempt from discussing the good name and character of an employee, and in this case, Hill indicated there still could be a resolution to the coaching issue.

Bell, who has coached backs for the Tigers’ football team, said he plans to file a grievance with the Demopolis City School Board.

“I’ve been loyal to the system and I don’t deserve this,” he said.

The specifics of Bell’s grievance, at this point, are hear-say. Bell believes the issue has to do with the time and frequency he holds summer basketball workouts.

This summer, both the football and basketball teams have been involved in collegiate and high school camps. The boys’ basketball team, in fact, is scheduled to participate in the University of Alabama basketball camp that begins Friday in Tuscaloosa.

Earlier this summer, members of the DHS football team participated in a passing camp at Auburn University and left with a first-place award.

Because school officials have not publicly commented on Bell’s situation, it is only speculation as to what caused Goodwin, who is in charge of all sports at the high school, to make his decision. It also is unclear whether or not Bell has the opportunity to regain his position on the football staff.

Hill said there is a process for athletic issues to be resolved, and he believes this one – like others – will take its course.