Corey Lambert, the former John Ehret High School football coach, is going to court to try to get his job back.
Lambert filed an appeal Friday aimed at overturning Jefferson Parish schools Superintendent Isaac Joseph's decision in August to fire Lambert as football coach at the Marrero school and demote him from his role as an assistant principal. In December, a hearing officer brought in by the district upheld Joseph's actions.
Lambert is protected from losing his job altogether by his status as a tenured employee, though he has been on leave since August. The terms of his firing prevent him from coaching at any school in the district.
The appeal to the 24th Judicial District Court is the last resort for Lambert, who alleges that it was jealous teachers and administrators at Ehret who derailed his career, as well as Joseph, who he said overstepped his authority. Under state law, a district judge will review the record of the hearing but not retry the case.
In firing Lambert, Joseph said Lambert had repeatedly ignored school system spending guidelines, illegally recruited players and fallen well behind on evaluations he was required to complete as an assistant principal.
Lambert alleged that his firing was "arbitrary and capricious," but the hearing officer, Metairie attorney Stanley Kottemann, disagreed. Kottemann said, however, that combining the roles of assistant principal and head football coach likely was too much for any one person.
Kottemann also called Lambert "a good family man who is respected by and honored by his family, friends, co-workers and former students."
In his appeal, Lambert emphasized his deep connection to the school. He said that as a child in the 1980s, he would show up to watch Ehret's football team practice. Later, he played quarterback for the school before returning as an assistant coach in 1999. He was elevated to head coach in 2012 and turned the program around, going 30-8 over his five seasons and making an appearance in the State 5A championship game.
He attributed his recent problems to "several jealous co-workers" who "began to spread rumors about illegal recruiting and deficits in the football team's budget."
A Metairie lawyer has affirmed the Jefferson Parish school system's decision to fire former John Ehret High School Assistant Principal Corey L…
Those rumors resulted in a Louisiana High School Athletic Association investigation, which could not affirm the charges of illegal recruiting against Lambert.
But school system officials then accused him of failing to get proper approval for purchase orders and harassing teachers. They also complained that Lambert, who was in charge of the school's discipline, was not punishing football players for serious offenses.
That resulted in a suspension by Joseph pending the investigation that led to Lambert's firing Aug. 9.
A spokeswoman said the school system had no comment on Lambert's appeal.