Covington — Two days after being told he would not remain the coach of the Covington High football team, Malter Scobel said he was in the process of appealing the decision to the St. Tammany Federation of Teachers.
Incoming Principal Roslyn Hanson informed Scobel on Tuesday morning that his five-year tenure at the helm of the Lions was over, although he will be retained at the school as a teacher. The Lions went 26-26 and 17-16 in district play in five seasons under Scobel. The Lions were 6-4 last year and made the playoffs despite being in a rebuilding year after losing 14 starters from the 2011 season.
Scobel first met with Hanson on May 20 and said he was under the impression he would be given another season because “she said she’d handle this professionally, take her time and go through the evaluation process and get all the information and data before she made such a very big a decision.” Instead, he was told Monday night he needed to meet with Hanson at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, when he was informed of her decision.
Scobel said he doesn’t feel as if his performance could have been evaluated fairly, because “to my knowledge she wasn’t at one of our practices. She did go to our spring game against Destrehan, but we were missing a few defensive starters due to injury.”
According to the St. Tammany Parish school system regulations, Scobel can ask the central office or Hanson for a list of reasons of why he was relieved, and Hanson must then provide those reasons in writing. For the matter to go any further, Scobel must convince Federation President Elsie Burkhalter the collective bargaining agreement was violated, and Burkhalter would then have to file an appeal with Superintendent of Schools Trey Folse. Then, a grievance hearing would be set up, and the hearing officer would have to rule in Scobel’s favor for him to regain his position.
Hanson, who was named Covington’s next principal April 26, won’t officially take over for outgoing principal Deborah McCollum until next month. Hanson said Wednesday she has spent the past few weeks preparing for the upcoming school year and reviewing personnel. It was during that time, she decided she must find a coach with “the type of leadership we need on and off the field.”
If Scobel is unsuccessful, he said he will feel most for his players, who were “very emotional” at an off-campus meeting Tuesday, when “we said our goodbyes.”
“(The players) don’t like it, and they don’t agree with it,” he said. “They’re distraught right now. This is not how anyone envisioned anything. These (seniors) have been to the playoffs all three years and have been on winning teams, and we all thought as a group this was going to be our breakout year.”