Washington County TN

UPDATE: Sensabaugh placed on leave at David Crockett pending investigation

Gerald Sensabaugh placed on...

UPDATE, 6:00 p.m.

David Crockett High School head coach Gerald Sensabaugh has been placed on administrative after being given a letter of reprimand outlining several allegations against him.

The administrative leave is indefinite for Sensabaugh, who is leading the Pioneers to the best start to a football season in school history.

The moves comes about two weeks after Sensabaugh posted multiple lengthy status' on Facebook, describing what he calls the real problem with the Washington County, Tennessee School Board.

Now, the team's offensive coordinator Brandon Qualls will take over the reigns of the team on an interim basis.

Earlier in the day, players, parents and Sensabaugh supporters storming into the school board's office in an effort to convince school officials to let Sensabaugh to continuing coaching the Pioneers.

"He makes me a better student and player on and off the field," Manny Gammon, a senior running back, says.

One by one, players and their parents got a chance to meet with Director of Schools Kimber Halliburton to discuss the recent allegations brought up against coach.

"I'm going to take all of the parents concerns into consideration, absolutely," Halliburton says. "But not above student safety."

While his players were protesting, Sensabaugh was meeting with David Crockett High School Principal Peggy Wright. The meeting ended with coach being placed on an indefinite administrative leave for a list of allegations, including the use of foul language in front of players and practicing an injured player against the doctor's opinion.

"We have students and parents coming forward saying they feel threatened by him," Halliburton says.

"It's a bunch of fabricated truths," Sensabaugh says.

When asked about the incident with an injured player, Sensabaugh says he kept the player in question on the other side of the field doing rehabilitation drills while the rest of the team prepared for their game.

Coach says he is constantly fighting for these kids because he believes in them, and wants every child in the county to have a better future.

"I want to coach my kids and I'd love to send them to Crockett, but under the current conditions, I wouldn't send them there," Sensabaugh says. "I wouldn't advise any parent to send them there."

Some of the current Crockett players say they're baffled by the decision to place coach on administrative leave.

"It's crazy on the county's part to let go of someone who is so into making change for the community," Mark Seidler, a junior on the team, says.

But Halliburton says the decision needed to be made.

"This is more about gaining attention for himself instead of doing what is right and in the best interest of our student athletes," she says. "That's very concerning to me."

We spoke with about a dozen David Crockett players after learning about the decision to place coach on administrative leave, and they all say they would not play on Friday against Tennessee High if Coach Sensabaugh is not on the sidelines.

We also checked with the TSSAA. If enough players boycott Friday's game, it would be counted as a forfeit.

In the meantime, more support for Sensabaugh is piling up. There is a rally scheduled for Wednesday afternoon that already has more than 130 RSVPs on Facebook.

We've also learned Josh Kite, David Crockett's Athletic Director, has also been placed on administrative leave. Sensabaugh accused him of showing up to work high earlier this month.

UPDATE, 12:00 p.m

The principal of David Crockett High School called current head football coach and former NFL star Gerald Sensabaugh "unpredictable, unprofessional, accusatory and hostile" in a letter recommending his suspension that was granted by Director of Schools Kimber Haliburton on Tuesday.

Principal Peggy Wright says the reprimand was for unprofessional conduct and a result of Sensabaugh's actions at the school, around his players and his coaching staff and fellow employees.

Those issues that Wright highlighted in the letter included:

  • Using profanity while talking or yelling at Crockett football players and coaches
  • Concerns over having a injured play participate in practice while still under a physician's care
  • Accusations made by Sensabaugh concerning school athletic director Josh Kite and about someone bringing a gun to the Jonesborough campus
  • Sensabaugh confronting and threatening an athletic trainer in front of players and parents

"Your conduct has caused significant anxiety for our staff and student football players at Crockett," Wright said in the letter placed in the coach's personnel file.

"...You took a private meeting I held with you to offer you guidance on some issues that I believed would be corrected and turned it into a public attack on our trainer and most inappropriately on our students by involving them. This behavior is unprofessional and will not be tolerated."

Sensabaugh has been critical of Crockett and the school system as a whole in previous interviews, including long posts on his Facebook page about the need for more funding, better school facilities and using inmate labor for repairs or other work on school property.

The 34-year-old Kingsport native was hired by Washington County in January following an 8-year career in the NFL with the Jacksonsville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys.

*Editor's Note: Document contains profanity. A copy of the letter given to Sensabaugh regarding his administrative leave can be found by clicking here.

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Gerald Sensabaugh has been placed on indefinite administrative leave, pending an investigation, as David Crockett head football coach.

Dozens of David Crockett players, parents and fans have come Tuesday out in support of Sensabaugh.

News 5's Mike Lucas is in Jonesborough and will have more coming up on News 5.


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