Rush Propst

Colquitt County High head football coach Rush Propst

MOULTRIE, Ga. – Rush Propst has requested a hearing following the conclusion of a Professional Standards Commission’s investigation into his actions as the Colquitt County High School football coach.

Propst, who led the Packers program for 11 seasons, winning two state championships and playing for three others, was relieved of his duties by the Colquitt County Board of Education on March 14 after Schools Superintendent Doug Howell concluded that he had violated five standards of the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators.

Propst was placed on administrative leave by the Board of Education and the PSC immediately launched its own investigation.

Propst remained on administrative leave until June 30, when his contract expired. He is no longer being paid by the school system.

In May, the Board of Education hired former Jones County head coach Justin Rogers to replace Propst, who had a 119-35-0 record since taking over the Packers program.

The PSC met on July 11 and made a probable cause determination in the case.

According to PSC Assistant Director-Ethics Division Kevin Shumake, the case is now in its due process stage, and according to his attorney, Propst will “vehemently contest the allegations.”

In a statement released on Thursday, Kelley O’Neill-Boswell, Propst’s attorney, said, “Coach Propst has demanded his right to a hearing regarding the Professional Standards Commission’s investigation and its recommendations, which lack any substantiation. We will vehemently contest the allegations made against Coach Propst. We look forward to a fair due process hearing where the evidence from all credible witnesses can be fully and fairly examined.”

It is unclear when the hearing will take place.

Shumake said PSC staff will not comment on the case while it is in the due process stage.

Howell’s investigation centered on accusations that Propst provided medication to players “on more than one occasion”; that he owed more than $440,000 in delinquent federal and state taxes; that he interfered in the hiring of Jamie Dixon as the Colquitt County High School principal; that he attempted to charge $143.66 for a personal hotel stay to the school system; and that he appeared to have lost control of his team, shown by the Packers conduct after the loss to Milton in the state championship game.

Also, in his report following his investigation, Howell wrote that “In my opinion, there is one more standard to be considered. Standard No. 9: ‘And educators shall demonstrate conduct that follows generally recognized professional standards and preserves the dignity and integrity of the education process. Unethical conduct is any conduct that is detrimental to the health, welfare, discipline or morals of students.’”

Propst contends that much of the information contained in Howell’s report “is totally false and the rest is misleading half-truths meant to damage my reputation and support pre-determined actions.”

He added, “I believe that certain individuals conducted an investigation into me that they shrouded in secrecy. They developed the conclusions of the investigation before they determined the facts.”

A number of people from the public spoke on Propst’s behalf at the March Board of Education meeting in which members unanimously voted to relieve him of his coaching duties.

Propst also received support in letters to the editor submitted to The Moultrie Observer and in its Rant and Rave column.

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