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Coach will keep post, must pay fine

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2007

Columbia County school Superintendent Charles Nagle announced the final punishment for Lakeside football coach Jody Grooms last week.

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Grooms will lose his athletic director position but will remain as head coach of the football team in 2008.

"Part of the people wanted to save him, and part of the people wanted him out," Nagle said. "Without full termination, this is about as strict as you can get."

Grooms will also be suspended for the first two games of the 2008 season and must cover the cost of a $250 fine that the Georgia High School Association placed on Lakeside High School.

Nagle said part of the punishment came from the recommendation of Lakeside Principal Jeff Carney.

Carney announced two weeks ago that Assistant Principal Tim Reeve has taken over as interim athletic director for the remainder of the 2007-08 season.

Grooms, in his first year as athletic director and head football coach, called an illegal play near the end of the final game of the season Nov. 2 at Effingham County.

The play, in which one receiver intentionally ran off the field while another Lakeside player came off the sidelines 40 yards down field to catch a pass, was not immediately caught by the referees. A portion of the game tape made its way to YouTube and e-mails the following week, and an investigation was launched by Lakeside and the Georgia High School Association.

The GHSA fined Lakeside $250 and placed Grooms on "severe warning status" for one calendar year.

Nagle's announcement last week marked the final punishment from the school system. Nagle did say he has reserved the right to revisit the punishment if or when the Georgia Professional Standards Commission takes action against Grooms.



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