MOULTRIE, Ga. – It has been almost two weeks since former Colquitt County High School head football coach Rush Propst was relieved of his coaching duties. Things have been a whirlwind for the Colquitt County Board of Education as it tries to deal with community backlash over the move and figure out who will be a suitable replacement for him.
The community has thrown one name in the hat.
Propst was fired after an investigation found that he had given pills to students, overstepped his position in at least one school personnel matter, and attempted to use school funds for a personal hotel stay. The community is still trying to figure out what is next for Packer football; however a few members of the community had a name in mind.
Members of the community spoke out on behalf of Tom Knotts, currently head football coach at Dutch Fork High School in Irmo, S.C., as a potential candidate for the head football coaching vacancy during the “items from the audience” portion of Monday’s Colquitt County Board of Education meeting.
Knotts is a North Carolina native who played football at Duke University, where he was a two-year starter. After he finished college Knotts got his first head football coaching job at age 26 at Harding High School. That would start a path of domination for Knotts as he racked up win after win.
Now sitting with more than 400 wins, which rank 17th all-time in the nation, and 10 state championships under his belt between four schools – Harding High School in Charlotte, N.C., West Charlotte High School, Independence High School in Charlotte and Dutch Fork High School – Knotts has the winning pedigree.
Shannon Fleetwood, a lifelong Packer fan, a former player and someone who is involved in the community with the football team, spoke to the board briefly about the resume of Knotts and how he is the man the team needs.
“I’ve known Coach Knotts for quite some time and have followed his career, and I think it would be a great injustice to not have this man here to interview in person,” said Fleetwood. “He is a great coach, a great man and I want to make sure we do the right thing. I remember the last time we had a coaching search we were begging coaches to apply. Now it’s completely different. Now we got coaches knocking on our door.”
Andy Whitaker, another former Packer player, came to the podium to speak in favor of a Knotts hiring. He spoke about how his proven resume is what separates him from everyone else.
“I don’t think this community is ready for a coach that isn’t proven,” said Whitaker. “I think this community is ready for a coach to come in that is proven to come in and stay for five, six, seven or 10 years. We need someone to come in that is proven so they can mold someone to take over after they leave and I think Tommy Knotts will be the coach for the position.”
School Superintendent Doug Howell and the Board of Education did not respond to the suggestion at Monday’s meeting.