Alcovy High School boys’ basketball coach Jabari Levi is on a health-related leave of absence from the Tigers’ program, and his future with the program is unclear.
Levi said Thursday his status with the school hasn’t changed, while Alcovy Athletic Director Gabe Burnette said Friday the school is taking the “necessary steps we need to take” to be prepared for any outcome.
“It just depends how things unfold with Coach Levi,” he said. “By him being out on personal leave – I don’t know how that is going to unfold – but the process is just to be prepared whether he returns or not.”
Levi left the Tigers in early January with an 1-11 overall record, as the Tigers failed to gain traction under their first-year head coach. Eric Hollier, who previously coached at Veterans Middle School, is the interim coach in Levi’s absence.
Despite the Tigers’ struggles on the court, Levi said his intention is to return to the program after tending to his personal health.
Before coming to Alcovy in the spring, Levi previously coached at Josey High School in Augusta. He went 13-13 in his final season with Josey, before also taking a leave of absence with that program for health concerns.
The Augusta Chronicle reported in a March 19 article, “Josey boys basketball coach Levi won’t be back next season,” that Levi, “missed some games and practices this season for health reasons, which he described as hereditary problems with his blood.”
After stepping down at Josey, Levi took over for former Alcovy boys’ basketball coach Eugene Brown, who left after the 2012-13 school year.
After 12 games at Alcovy, Levi decided once again to take a leave of absence and his status remains unclear. Levi did not directly respond to reports that Alcovy was preparing for a coaching search for the end of the season.
“There was no update on my position with Alcovy from my end,” Levi said Thursday. “I’m basically trying to get healthy and get back together. That’s what I’ve been working on - getting myself ready to get back out there.”
Burnette didn’t have much to add about reported comments he made on a new search.
“I don’t know on that part of it, as far as his health,” Burnette said. “Like I said, it’s his personal business and I try to respect that. My biggest concern as athletic director is that I have something in place so the kids can finish out their season.
“We brought in Coach Hollier as an interim coach so the kids could finish out their season.”
If the Tigers have started looking for a new coach or plan to, Levi said it was news to him
“I have no idea,” Levi said Thursday. “I’m not sure where that’s come from. I haven’t stepped down on my own. I wasn’t notified.”
Burnette said that the school would continue to take steps to support the basketball program.
“It has been a difficult year for our basketball program,” Burnette said. “We’re in a transitional stage, and we’re trying to give as much support as possible to try to get the programs back to where they were.”
Levi said that he has been in contact with his players, but hasn’t received a status update from the school.
“I’ve talked with my players, and I’ve made sure to try to keep this about them during my leave, not about me,” he said. “This is all news to me. It was my intention to return. I didn’t know anything about (the report about a search). No one contacted me from (Alcovy).”
Alcovy has gone 1-5 in its last six games since Hollier took over.
Levi’s lone win with the program came Dec. 3, a 75-73 road victory over Druid Hills. Hollier earned his first win as interim coach over the Red Devils 44-43 at home Dec. 17.
Levi joined the Tigers’ program this season after Brown left Alcovy near the end of the 2012-2013 school year.