The fate of Piedmont head softball coach Rick Scott’s tenure in Piedmont could rest on a Monday, Nov. 9 Piedmont School Board meeting.
It’s then that the board of five members may formally accept Scott’s resignation after 14 seasons at PHS, which the Piedmont administration has already accepted, or refuse it and essentially reinstate Scott as head coach. It would require a simple majority of the five members to decline the resignation recommended by the administration.
It may be much simpler than that, though.
Piedmont schools Superintendent Dr. James White said that via district policy an administrator can accept an extra duties assignment resignation (Softball is considered an extra duties assignment according to White) without the approval of the board.
Scott submitted his resignation in writing Sept. 1 to be effective Nov. 30, then changed his mind shortly after the season ended, but the administration considered his resignation final.
“At this time the resignation is considered final and we do not anticipate it being on the school board’s agenda Nov. 9,” White said.
A large group of Scott supporters still plan to attend the meeting, including Dave Owen, whose daughter Hannah Owen, a junior at PHS, played for the Lady Wildcats last year.
“There are a lot of upset girls over this,” Owen said. “I can’t count how many girls said they sat up at night and cried over this.”
Owen helped spearhead support for Scott via a Facebook group entitled ‘Bring Back Coach Scott’ that now has more than 2,200 members. Former players, parents and friends have shared memories and sentiments on the page that Owen says illustrate why Scott should be allowed to remain as head coach.
“Hopefully the administration listens to the community. We’ve got 2,220 people on the Facebook page already and there will be more who will join,”
Owen said. “If they’d just reinstate him we could all move on. Nobody is asking for anything else. I’m optimistic the school board will listen to the community.”
Sources indicated to The Gazette that it was unlikely the school board would override the administration’s decision to accept Scott’s resignation.
White, meanwhile, said he is aware of the public support for Scott and offered to meet with anyone who had questions about the decision.
“I’d be glad to sit down with anyone and talk about that,” he said. “I’ve only had one person who’s asked to and we had a nice meeting.”
Sources indicated that personality conflicts and potential misuse of funds by Scott associated with an account dedicated to Piedmont softball were amongst the reasons for the administration’s desire to replace Scott.
Scott acknowledges that ‘some mistakes were made’ with money from the account, but said none were intentional.
“We made some choices out of excitement to help our program that looking back we should not have,” he said.
He continued on to say the mistakes made were minor and all were corrected soon after, but would not elaborate.
“It’s all a smokescreen by parents upset their kids have not played more,” Scott said. “And that’s sad because of what it’s done to the girls and the program.”
White declined comment about the misuse of funds.
Scott indicated he would view any potential school board decision as final. Owen, however, did not.
Owen said those in support of Scott would push for a change in Piedmont’s administration if Scott is not allowed to return, and that a significant number of softball parents would consider moving their students out of Piedmont’s district.
“It would not surprise me if we had a mass exodus of our softball talent,” Owen said.