Another Georgia high school football coach is out of a job over allegations of recruiting a player from another school.
Mario Allen, who was announced as Rockdale County’s head coach in February, won’t get the job after a Rockdale County Public Schools investigation found evidence of potential recruiting and practice violations, the Rockdale Citizen reported.
Allen denied the allegations in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday afternoon.
Earlier this month, Shiloh coach Brian Montgomery resigned under pressure while denying allegations that he asked four players to come to Shiloh from North Atlanta, his former school. In February, Troup fired Charlie Flowers amid allegations that he helped players move into the Troup district.
At Rockdale, Allen acknowledged that he drove a student from Columbia, where he currently teaches and coached the football team last fall, to Rockdale to watch a recent off-season workout and see the school. But he said it was student’s mother who initiated interest about the school and asked the coach to take her son for a visit.
The GHSA rules prohibit “the use of influence … to induce a student to transfer from one school to another … for athletic purposes.’’ The GHSA has not determined if Allen has violated any rules and is awaiting information from the school system, according to the Rockdale newspaper.
Another Rockdale County Schools allegation was that Rockdale’s players practiced with coaches on the football field out of season, which would be a GHSA violation. The Rockdale school system had video evidence of the practice.
Allen said the incident was a spontaneous gathering of players who were asking assistant coaches about the new offense after a legal conditioning workout. Allen said the meeting was not planned, that he did not supervise it, and that no equipment, including footballs, was used.
Allen, who is black, said he believed four white coaches from the previous staff that he was forced to retain were resentful of his hiring. According to Allen, three of those applied for the head coach’s job that Allen got. One was the son of the previous coach, and another was the athletics director.
‘’You could tell those coaches didn’t want me there,’’ Allen said. ‘’I feel like I’ve been sabotaged or set up. The biggest thing I’m disappointed about is the principal who said we’re in this together allowed those assistant coaches to get in her ear and give false information and blow things out of proportion.’’
Allen said he had the support of players and parents.
‘’The parents, the booster club and the kids have been supportive,’’ Allen said. “They know exactly what’s been going on. They’re highly upset because it seems it’s discrimination-motivated.’’
Former coach Mike Etheridge was let go in November. Rockdale was 1-9 last season, two years after reaching the Class AAAA semifinals.
Allen’s three-season record at Columbia is 15-16. More than 30 of Allen’s Columbia players signed college scholarships.