Gate City coach confronts Scott School Board

John Moorehouse • May 1, 2007 at 11:21 AM

Ronnie Godsey, brother of coach Hugh Godsey, addresses members of the Scott County School Board Tuesday. Hugh Godsey later spoke on his own behalf. Erica Yoon photo.


GATE CITY - Last month, the Scott County School Board terminated Hugh Godsey's contract as softball coach at Gate City High School. A few weeks ago, Godsey learned he would not be recommended to return as girls basketball coach.

Godsey said he went to Tuesday night's school board meeting seeking answers from board members and Superintendent Jim Scott, and came away empty-handed.

"If I thought for one second I'd done anything wrong, I'm man enough to accept my punishment and go. But I've not done anything wrong. I just can't accept what they've done," Godsey said after the meeting. "It's just not right. To me it's an issue of right versus wrong."

Godsey, who has won two state titles in softball and one in basketball, said he was informed of the decision regarding basketball April 13 by Nick Colobro, Gate City High's football coach and athletic director.

Godsey said a principal from Weber City Elementary, where Godsey teaches, was present.

"There was no documentation. It was just a conversation," Godsey said. "He just indicated that I would not be considered for any coaching positions in the next year.

"I asked him why, and he said if I had any questions I need to call the Central Office, which indicates to me that it's coming from over there. Then when (parents) call over there, (the Central Office) says that the principals give the recommendation."

Contacted at home Tuesday night, Colobro declined to comment, saying questions should be addressed to Scott or one of the school board members.

In March, the board met in a closed session before voting to terminate Godsey as softball coach. Insubordination was cited as the cause.

Prior to the closed meeting, supporters spoke on Godsey's behalf for more than an hour. Tuesday's meeting transpired far differently.

David Kindle, who replaced Beth Blair as vice chairman at the beginning of the meeting, asked the group of Godsey supporters to pick one speaker, who would have a maximum of five minutes to speak and could not pose questions directly to Scott or any individual board members.

Godsey ended up speaking on his own behalf, and cited a March 23 meeting with Scott. Godsey's assistant coach also attended the meeting.

"It's been in the papers that I was supposedly told to do something," Godsey told the board. "In our last meeting, and there was a witness there besides myself, so that can be confirmed, he indicated to me - first that ‘I should've known what he meant.' My question there is, which was it? You told me to do something, or you didn't tell me and I should've known what you meant to tell me. That's pretty vague if you ask me."

Scott, who would not comment on Godsey's remarks to the board, said the contracts for coaches are renewed on a yearly basis. The vote on softball was necessary because it required voiding a previously approved contract.

Principals from the three high schools will hand in lists of recommendations on June 1.

The school board can either accept those recommendations, make changes or ask they be sent back and re-examined by the school administration.

Scott said any notification Godsey had received on basketball "would have to come from the school people. I wouldn't really know until I see their list in June."

Reached at home Tuesday night, Gate City High Principal Mike Brickey said he and Colobro meet to discuss coaching retentions every year. Colobro hands out a form to incumbent coaches in January or February asking if they wish to return and whom they request as assistants.

"Hugh has said he wanted to return as a coach," Brickey acknowledged.

Brickey would not discuss specifics of the Godsey situation.

"There's no reason that I can give. It's a personnel matter. Most personnel matters come from the superintendent."

Brickey said he had not handed in the official list but thought Scott had received a tentative list from Colobro.

"Coach (Colobro) took one over this week, I think so," Brickey said.

Godsey said he "probably" would return to teach in Scott County rather than take a coaching position elsewhere.

"I've had those opportunities in the past and passed on them," he said. "This is where my heart is."

Legal action in the matter also may be an option.

"Right now, that's a definite possibility," Godsey said. "I will say we're not done with it. They know that. They should know that by now."

Scott hopes to name full-time replacements - along with all coaches in Scott County - at the June meeting.

Possible candidates to replace Godsey could not be named to coach until they have been hired by Scott County Schools to teach.

Amy Bledsoe currently serves as the interim softball coach.

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