Ken’s Column: Rush Propst should never coach again
Published 6:24 pm Monday, August 5, 2019
As I’m sure you are well aware of, we live in a “win at all costs” world these days. People are willing to do whatever it takes to win, even if it involves inappropriate and even illegal means to get it done. The end justifies the means.
According to information on Wikipedia.com, on January 30, 2008, the Colquitt County Board of Education (CCBE) hired Rush Propst to be the head football coach at Colquitt County High School. At the time, it seemed like a good hire. The Packers had been struggling on the field and Propst was a proven winner, having won 110 games and five Alabama state championships at Hoover High School (HHS) in Hoover, AL.
Two years after he was hired by Colquitt County, Propst led a team that was 2-8 in 2007 to an 11-3 season and an appearance in the state semifinals in 2009.
In spite of allegations against Propst that he had grades changed for certain HHS athletes to make them eligible to play in college, as well as his alleged extramarital affairs, the CCBE decided to give Propst another chance. To be fair, I don’t fault the CCBE for doing that. Everyone deserves a second chance to get things right.
However, Propst’s flawed character reared its ugly head again in Moultrie. According to information from the Moultrie Observer and www.al.com, Propst was relieved of “any and all coaching duties” by the CCBE on March 14, 2019.
In the official Propst report, which was first obtained by the Moultrie Observer, Colquitt County School Superintendent Doug Howell accused Propst of providing “pills” to players, missing called meetings and being verbally abusive to players and co-workers. Propst’s case was turned over to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, which governs the state’s education ethics and teacher certification program.
To make a long story short, in the official Propst Report, which can be read at www.scribd.com, Howell outlined five “standards” of the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators that Propst violated while he served as the head football coach at Colquitt County. These standards dealt with Legal Compliance, Conduct with Students, Honesty, Public Funds and Property and one stating, “An educator shall demonstrate conduct that follows generally recognized professional standards and preserves the dignity and integrity of the education profession.” Howell’s investigation revealed that Propst had violated all five of those standards. He goes on to describe that based on the CCBE’s investigation that Propst gave “pills” to students out of his pocket on more than one occasion. “He is not allowed to give over-the-counter medicines or unauthorized medicines”, Howell stated in his report. Howell goes on to explain that there is ample evidence to suggest that Propst has not paid his taxes and that the “Credit Bureau Report (Colquitt Tax Liens) shows Rush Propst owes $301,317 in federal income taxes.”
Howell went on to site issues involving insubordination, failure to follow school rules and unethical conduct regarding public funds and property. According to the report, Howell also points out that Coach Propst failed to control and discipline his players on more than one occasion, including during the moments after the Packers’ 14-13 loss to Milton in the 2018 GHSA Class AAAAAAA State Championship Game on Wednesday, December 12, 2018. Details on that subject can be read in the CCBE’s official Propst Report.
Based on this evidence presented to them, the CCBE saw no alternative but to fire Rush Propst.
Based on the reports that I’ve read from the Moultrie Observer, www.al.com and the CCBE’s official Propst Report, there is overwhelming evidence that Coach Propst deserved to lose his job. However, amazingly, even in the face of all these alleged transgressions (which appear to be true), some still want to hire Propst because he wins. Two weeks ago, there was a billboard along I-75 in Tifton that said “Hire Rush Propst Tift County Football Coach.” That is the “win at all costs” mentality. Thankfully, that billboard was taken down.
I’m thankful that both here in Sumter County and in Schley County, educational leaders chose to hire coaches who are more concerned with making sure that these student-athletes do what is right at all times and are prepared to be good citizens than they are about winning football games and state titles. There’s nothing wrong with winning a state championship, but there are many things more important than that.
The CCBE was prepared to give Propst a second chance. Sadly, even though he won two state titles with Colquitt County, he didn’t make the most of his second opportunity. For this reason, in my opinion, Propst should never be allowed to coach again.
In our society, which is rapidly headed in a downward spiral, we desperately need men and women who demonstrate strong moral character and integrity, especially when dealing with young people. Unfortunately, Rush Propst is sorely lacking in both of those areas.
Ken Gustafson is the sports editor for the Americus Times-Recorder. To contact him, email him at Ken.email@example.com, or call 229-924-2751.