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THS softball coach plan to address board after being relieved of duties

Long-time Thomson High School softball coach Lisa Cody was recently relieved of her coaching duties. Now, she plans to take her case in front of school board members at Thursday night's meeting.

McDuffie County Superintendent of Schools Mark Petersen said several reasons sparked the coaching move.

"Her win-loss record, the competitiveness of her girls and the fact that we needed a change, those were the three pieces that I told her," Dr. Petersen said. THS Principal Rudy Falana echoed the superintendent's assessment.

Athletic Director Luther Welsh said there were also other reasons behind the move.

"They decided they needed to make a change from over a period of years," Coach Welsh said. "It was how many complaints from parents they got and all that stuff."

Coach Cody has been teaching and coaching at THS for the better part of two decades, but her success on the field is subjective.

No one -- from school leaders to the coach herself -- is sure of her win-loss record. And that's not surprising, said Georgia High School Association spokesperson Steve Figueroa.

He said it is usually the responsibility of the school or the coach to keep up with their record. The GHSA simply tracks state playoffs and champions -- all the way back to the early 1900s.

But some of Coach Cody's players say her success is about more than wins and losses. In a letter to the editor submitted to The McDuffie Mirror, former player Holly Coleman said Coach Cody always pushed the players to expect the best.

"She brought so much excitement to our team, and she believed in us so much," Holly wrote.

In most cases, the school's athletic director or the principal is charged with making decisions about who coaches each sport. Dr. Petersen said the chain of command runs up to him, so he is able to make calls like this one.

"The athletic director answers to the principal, and the principal answers to the superintendent," Dr. Petersen said. "Coaching is an at-will kind of endeavor. ...They don't have the due process, contract kind of things."

Coach Welsh said he was informed of the decision during a meeting with Mr. Falana and Dr. Petersen.

"(Dr. Petersen) discussed it with us," Coach Welsh said. "He just had a lot of complaints, so he checked back over the years."

Coach Cody wouldn't comment except to confirm that she had received notice of the decision. She also said she plans to address the board about the situation during executive session.



Web posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2005











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