MOULTRIE – In a surprise move Tuesday, Superintendent of Schools Doug Howell placed Colquitt County High head football coach Rush Propst on administrative leave with pay pending an internal investigation into personnel issues.
Howell pointed out that Propst has not been terminated. He added that while he understood the move was a significant story not only in Colquitt County, but around the state, he could not comment further, citing protected confidentiality.
“I don’t know how long this is going to take,” Howell said.
Propst was notified of the decision in a meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Colquitt County High School Principal Jamie Dixon notified the Packer football players and coaches throughout the day.
Howell said Tuesday afternoon that he was unsure who would take over guiding the operations of the football program in Propst’s absence, but added there were a number of capable assistants on staff.
The team is currently undergoing weight training and conditioning in preparation for spring practice, scheduled to begin in May.
Propst, 61, has an overall head coaching record of 295-96 over 30 seasons in Alabama and Georgia and has posted a 119-35 record since taking over the Colquitt County football program in 2008.
He has led the Packers to the state championship game in Georgia’s highest classification five times, claiming the state title in 2014 and 2015 while leading the Packers to 30 straight victories.
The Packers lost in the state championship game in each of the last two seasons, falling to North Gwinnett 19-17 on an untimed down field goal at the end of the game in 2017 and losing 14-13 to Milton last December. The Packers also lost to Brookwood 52-38 in the state championship game in 2010, his third season with the program.
Colquitt finished 14-1 last season and has won 18 of its last 20 games. The team is expected to contend for a championship against this fall.
Colquitt County had gone 2-8 the season before Propst arrived from Hoover, Ala., in 2008.
His first team went 4-6, but the Packers are 115-29 since then and failed to reach at least the state semifinals just one time, falling in the quarterfinals to eventual state champion Grayson in 2016.
A native of Ohatchee, Ala., Propst was a head coach for 19 seasons in Alabama before heading east, posting a 176-61 record. He won five state championships at Hoover High.
Propst gained renown while at Hoover through the MTV series “Two-a-Days,” which chronicled the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
But he was embroiled in his share of controversies while at Hoover, including the use of an ineligible player that forced the Bucs to forfeit four games in 2007, his final season before moving to Moultrie. There also were allegations of altering grades for football players.
When he resigned from Hoover in 2007, he admitted to a relationship outside his marriage that resulted in a child, but he did not “admit any wrongdoing inside the walls of Hoover High School.”
Propst also ran afoul of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission after he head-butted kicker Luis “Baby Lou” Martinez on the sideline during Colquitt County’s 2015 televised state semifinal victory over Mill Creek.
The commission initially recommended Propst be suspended a year over the incident, but later settled on a reprimand.