Gainesville coach Miller suspended for game due to equipment flap

Gainesville coach Bruce Miller will be suspended for his team’s football game Friday against Johnson of Gainesville.


His crime: In last week’s game against Franklin County, a 28-7 victory, one of his players neglected to wear hip pads, and another was flagged for not wearing his mouth guard.


Both resulted in unsportsmanlike penalties against Gainesville that were charged to the head coach.


According to National High School Federation rules, two unsportsmanlike penalties result in an automatic ejection for the head coach. According to Georgia High School Association rules, an ejected coach or player then must serve a one-game suspension.


“I will do what I am supposed to, but I really hate I am going to miss a game because of this,” Miller said. “I have never been ejected from a game for any reason. I think somebody should look at the rules and never let this happen again. … I will feel so lost not being at the game.”


GHSA executive director Ralph Swearngin said the ruling can’t be appealed because it is a judgment call, and NHSF and GHSA rules were followed. Swearngin said the officials are supposed to ask head coaches before games if their players are properly equipped. If a coach says yes, he becomes responsible for any violations.


“Both are protection issues, and coaches are responsible for that,” Swearngin said. “The only thing people might say is, ‘Gee, it would’ve been nice if you’d be given a warning,’ and that’s a debate we can have, but it sounds like it was handled straight by the national rule book. It’s unfortunate that it happened to a gentleman like this coach who is really not a problem. He just got caught in some technical issue.”


Miller said he would accept the penalty but not like it.


“This really hurts because I put so much into it,” Miller said. “Every coach wants to be with his team, and I did nothing to deserve this.”


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7 comments Add your comment

Trojan 2986

September 28th, 2010
10:46 am

The rules are the rules.


September 28th, 2010
11:03 am

Too bad it won’t change the outcome of a few weeks ago Trojan boy!


September 28th, 2010
7:13 pm

This is crazy and the rules need to be changed! What about suspending the two idoit kids? They are the ones in violation! ( How about I rob the bank…and my father goes to jail for it ) CRAZY HUH!

Angry Zebra

September 29th, 2010
6:29 am

There has to be more to this story. Officials could find something every week on every team.


September 29th, 2010
10:47 am

Nope, that’s the whole story.
One pad and one mouth piece.
And a coach misses the rest of the game and the next game.
That’s one screwed up rule.


September 29th, 2010
2:39 pm

The officials are somewhat serious about this stuff this year, but not consistant. When Lowndes played McEachern in September the officials warned our coaches before the game not to let any players knee be visible below their pants (we have several really tall receivers and d-backs). On the first play of the game they penalized Lowndes 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. When the referee came over to explain it to our head coach, Randy McPherson,that number 25’s knee was visible, Randy pointed at the field and said “Mr Ref, look right there, I see 1, 2, 3, 4 McEachern players knees showing below their pants.” The ref then told our coach that the penalty was “called on Lowndes not McEachern” because they had not been forewarned.

This kind of stuff needs to be consistant for every team on every play, or not called at all. I can remember when I coached in the Boys Club, the refs would throw a flag if a player was not wearing his mouth piece. But I’ve never seen it called in highschool.

Roger Nott

September 30th, 2010
5:23 pm

With all a head coach’s responsibilities on the field, there is no way he can be expected to monitor all the players’ equipment at all times. The player who caused the second penalty had a mouth piece when he entered the game but lost it during play. It seems to me that penalizing the whole team 15 yards per infraction and enforcing the rules ought to be a sufficient sanction for this offense. The players themselves ought to have the primary responsibility for making certain they are wearing all the required equipment and be the only ones ejected with a second violation in the same game.