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Godsey supporters protest decision to terminate coach

June 6th, 2007 12:00 am by CLIFFORD JEFFERY

GATE CITY - Supporters of the former Gate City High School softball and girls basketball coach attended the June meeting of the Scott County Board of Education Tuesday to protest the decision made by board members to relieve Hugh Godsey of his coaching duties.

Wearing pins with Hugh's face on them, mother Nancy Godsey and brother Ronnie Godsey both berated the school board members for failing county residents.

A GCHS graduate, Lindsey Musick, said Godsey was a great coach who cared about the girls on his teams.

"He was a mentor to me. He could have been my second dad. It's a shame he's not going to get that. I think that, for the girls, he's made such a difference. He's been a good person to look up to, and I wish all the other girls would have that image to look up to. I don't see other coaches who care about the girls like Coach Godsey. He's a great coach and a great man," she said.

Godsey's contracts to coach the girls basketball and softball teams were not renewed due to insubordination, Godsey said at the May BOE meeting.

At the May BOE meeting, Godsey said that while Superintendent Jim Scott maintained that he was to keep a parent away from the girls, Scott never actually told him to do that. Godsey also told the board that he didn't believe he had the authority to prohibit a parent from attending practices or riding the team bus.

The parent, Randy Johnson, had a stepdaughter on Godsey's teams and was an assistant coach.

Godsey said Scott never gave him specific instructions to prohibit Johnson from participating in practices and sitting on the bench with the girls during the games.

While Godsey has fought his removal as coach, Johnson filed an injunction with the Scott County Circuit Court last month requesting the court allow him to go back onto school property and onto school buses.

Johnson had been prohibited from going near the high school or buses by Gate City High School Principal Michael Brickey. In the injunction, Johnson claimed there was no basis to keep him away from the school.

A Kingsport resident, Johnson at one time had helped coach the teams that his stepdaughter had played on.

Attorney Jim Guynn Jr., representing the school system, filed a response to the injunction with the circuit court Tuesday.

Guynn requested a dismissal of Johnson's injunction. Guynn states that school officials were justified in barring Johnson from the property because they had received complaints that Johnson "inappropriately touched and used inappropriate language toward female players while he served as an assistant coach."

The response also states that Godsey allowed Johnson to continue riding the team bus after being told he should not come onto school buses.

The only alternative for the school was to bar Johnson from the school and its buses, Guynn said.

A hearing on the injunction has not been scheduled.

The BOE approved contracts Tuesday for coaches to replace Godsey.

Kelly Houseright will be head coach of the girls basketball team, and Amy Bledsoe head coach of the softball team.

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