After just 11 weeks on the job, Mario Allen is no longer the head football coach at Rockdale High.
Rockdale County High School administrators conducted two meetings with parents and supporters of the football program, the first on April 19 and the second Thursday, to discuss the school’s course of action through spring practices and the process of finding a new coach.
According to parents who attended Thursday night’s meeting, those conducting it described some possible violations Allen committed while at RCHS.
“There were some concerns for ethics violations," said parent Valencia Smith-Bundrage, involving bringing students from other schools to RCHS workouts and practices. “They said they have him on camera violating some of these ethics.”
Georgia High School Association by-laws and guidelines define when a player can be on the field with either his team or his future team, along with the fact that there are certain periods of time when coaches can conduct practices with the full team.
Among those attending Thursday’s meeting, said to be less chaotic than the first, were Rockdale High Principal Georgi Nour, Rockdale County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Gene Baker and Rockdale football coaches.
The meeting explained the process of Rockdale’s second coaching search in six months. The school will again use a rubric to whittle down the reported 100 applications it has received since the job was said to be posted on Monday.
Parents attending the meeting were surprised that Allen was no longer with the team after such a short tenure.
“He talked to the kids; he didn’t just fuss at them,” Smith-Bundrage said. “He gave them some encouragement. His demeanor was different.”
Allen came to Rockdale after three seasons at Columbia, where he went 15-17 but gave the school its first back-to-back winning football seasons in 15 years. In his final season at Columbia Allen led the team to its first playoff appearance in 10 years.
He was named the successor to Michael Etheridge who was dismissed from the position in December.
Despite the sudden change some those around the program seem supportive of the school working through the current situation.
"They’re open minded," RCHS Football Booster Club treasurer Sonia Neal concerning the mood of parents and players. "I think they received the news quite well."
Check back later for more on this developing story.