Valdosta School Board votes to uphold Rodemaker decision

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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
February 11, 2020

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- The Valdosta City School Board has voted 5-4 to reaffirm their original decision to relieve head football coaching duties from former Valdosta High School football coach Alan Rodemaker.

The 5-4 vote is the same tally from the vote in late January.

Surprise, shock and a lot of upset Wildcat fans were in the auditorium at the Performing Arts Center at the Old Valdosta High School on Tuesday night, filled with hundreds of people.

It was a shared sentiment in the room, that in Titletown, the decision to remove a football coach is more than football, it's about the kids and the community.

Rodemaker says he's not done fighting.

The board meeting began with an hour of public comment. 12 people took to the podium in total. Some spoke about how the board and the community need to put education first.

Parents and other coaches also spoke, saying Rodemaker doesn't just build football players, but young men.

Many people have told WCTV that the decision is about race, something Rodemaker's attorney agrees with.

Sam Dennis says it's a matter of discrimination and they'll continue the fight.

"They have fired or not renewed a coach the community overwhelmingly supports and loves, they have ripped apart a successful football program that is way bigger than football games and Friday nights," Dennis said. "They have destroyed something positive and unifying in our community."

We asked Dennis what's next and he says they plan to take this to the courtroom and are now looking at what motions they need to file.

Dennis says they have yet to receive any valid reason Rodemaker was let go.

District and school board officials say they did not have a comment immediately following the meeting.

This is a developing story.

By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
February 11, 2020

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- The Valdosta School Board is set to meet Tuesday night and, on the agenda, a "recommendation to return" one head football coach; Alan Rodemaker, who was unexpectedly fired two weeks ago.

In a letter from Rodemaker's attorney, Sam Dennis, they requested a re-vote from the school board, saying "no legitimate reason was given," as to why the head coach was let go.

And, it looks like they've gotten what they requested.

On January 28, the school board voted not to bring Rodemaker back for the 2020 season in a 5-4 vote.

In a statement, Dennis says the board's action was done "without warning, without notice and without an opportunity to be heard."

In the days sense, major community backlash erupted, with former and current players, parents and fans, all fighting for their coach back.

WCTV has repeatedly reached to school board members, but the response has remained the same; that the issue is a personnel matter and they cannot comment further.

The meeting location was changed to the Performing Arts Center at the Old Valdosta High School. 30 minutes has been allocated for public participation.

The meeting is expected to begin around 7 p.m.

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