Dunwoody High’s Michael Youngblood was fired as head football coach on Thursday.
“Mr. Youngblood is no longer the coach, that is correct,” DeKalb County Schools spokesman Dale Davis said.
When asked for the official reason, Davis said, “We decided to go in a different direction.”
Youngblood was still in a state of disbelief on Thursday evening. Dunwoody was his first head coaching job, and he led the Wildcats to a 7-5 record and appearance in the state playoffs this past season. He was informed of the news by Dunwoody principal Kevin Harris.
“When I asked (Harris) ‘What were the grounds for my removal?’ He said the things that they are going to say when the principal and football coach don’t see eye to eye … that they ‘are going to move in a different direction’ and not really give you an answer,” Youngblood said.
Youngblood speculated that his firing was related to an incident between the two men at at halftime of Dunwoody’s homecoming game against Cedar Grove on Sept. 25. Harris entered the team’s locker room and directed several players to leave the team meeting to participate in the halftime activities.
“It was a close game, and I had no idea (in advance) that some of our key players were going to be pulled out of the meeting,” Youngblood said. “I told (Harris), ‘No, please don’t do that.’ Then we went outside and talked about it. The football players ended up being in the halftime activities.”
“(But) I think he interpreted the entire situation as me trying to show him up in front the kids and other coaches.”
The following Monday, Youngblood says he was written up for “insubordination” by the principal, and Youngblood responded with a letter of rebuttal, explaining that “everything said in the report was not true.” Youngblood later apologized to Harris, hoping to ease the tension.
“However, from that moment on, I knew that things weren’t how they were supposed to be,” Youngblood said. “Every day, I had to look over my back, while also doing a good job on the football field.”
“The bottom line is that (Harris) never forgave me for that (halftime) incident.”
Youngblood, 30, was assistant head coach for Tucker High’s 2009 state championship team, and was Chattahoochee High’s defensive coordinator the previous two years.