Former M.L. King coach to start prep school

Michael Carson, the former M.L. King coach who effectively lost his job days before the first game this season amid a sexting scanding, is planning to open a prep school next fall that will help football players get scholarships.

Carson said he hoped that M.L. King supporters and the high school football community would forgive him for the incident that cost him his job in August.

Carson led M.L. King to two Region 2-AAAAA championships in his two seasons at the DeKalb County school. In August, he was suspended and then resigned after the parent of a player began showing inappropriate text messages and photos that the coach had sent her.

“I’m responsible enough to admit that I made a mistake, and all I can do is ask for forgiveness,” Carson said. “I’m guilty of being weak at a time when I should have been strong, knowing that I had a family here and a wife who has been supportive through this ordeal. All I can do is ask her and God for forgiveness and move on.”

Under interim coach Rober Freeman, M.L. King is 4-0 and ranked No. 3 in Class AAAAA.

In Carson’s two seasons, M.L. King was 20-5 and sent 42 to college on scholarship. Carson had 16 of his players sign in two seasons at Avondale, which had not had a winning season in more than 20 years until he arrived.

“My record speaks for itself as it relates to me dealing with kids,” Carson said. “I think kids will see the value in that. I’m wholeheartedly committed to them and want the best for them.”

Carson says his Atlanta-based school will be called the Georgia Prep Sports Academy and will be a low-cost, one-year post-graduate program that will help get sports scholarships for players who need more time to get their academics in order, or more exposure to college coaches.

Carson said academic requirements are about to get tougher for NCAA schools. Junior colleges sometimes fill players’ need to satisfy academic requirements, but few in the Southeast field football teams.

Carson plans to form and coach a team that will play Georgia-area JV or freshmen college teams. Carson’s partner in the school is former Columbia coach Mario Allen, who found controversy of his own this past offseason when he got the Rockdale County job, then lost it amid alleged practice and recruiting violations that Allen denied.

Like Carson, Allen was known for his success in getting college opportunities for his players. Columbia sent 16 players to colleges or prep schools in 2012.

“We want to give kids a chance to come into a structured environment, teach them about leadership and taking responsibility for their actions and give them a year to mature,” Carson said. “And hopefully they will get an athletic scholarship.”

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