Kingsport softball coach suspended; D-B officials refuse to discuss incident under investigation

Rick Wagner • Apr 7, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett High School softball coach Jerry Higgins has been suspended from his coaching duties, but he remains on the job as a D-B math teacher.

D-B Principal Earl Lovelace said the suspension occurred Monday because of an incident — under investigation by the school system — that occurred with Higgins and a D-B player during a softball tournament Saturday evening in Kingsport.

During that day of Eastman Invitational tournament action, Daniel Boone High School’s Lady Trailblazers beat D-B’s Lady Indians 3-2 to advance.

“We’d like to extend our apologies to the student and her family,” Lovelace said Tuesday afternoon.

He also apologized to other players on D-B’s team and other teams, as well as community members, all of whom witnessed the incident.

Lovelace said he would not detail what occurred until he presented the school investigation’s findings in person to Superintendent Richard Kitzmiller, who is out of town on business for much of this week. Lovelace said he has been in contact with Kitzmiller on the issue.

“Mr. Higgins has been suspended from coaching duties pending more investigation of an event that occurred at a Saturday softball tournament,” Lovelace said. “Once our investigation is completed, action will be taken that we deem appropriate.”

Andy Hubbard, one of the team’s assistant coaches, was named interim coach Monday.

Athletic Director Cary Daniels met with the team Monday and told them about Higgins’ status and Hubbard becoming interim coach, Lovelace said.

“The girls will continue to work as a team with Andy Hubbard stepping in as interim coach,” Lovelace said.

Higgins could not be reached for comment Tuesday via cell phone or e-mail.

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