AHSAA Hands Down Sanctions for Coach Fight


(WHNT) – The Alabama High School Athletic Association released sanctions for Walker and Cullman High Schools in reference to the fight at the game in Jasper on August 30.

Watch: Coaches Come to Blows

The AHSAA has placed Walker High School on restrictive probation for the remainder of the 2013 football season and the Cullman High School has been placed on non-restrictive probation for one year and each school has been fined $1,500 for flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct.

Walker head coach John Holladay and Cullman assistant coach Matt Hopper have been suspended for the remainder of the 2013 football season for their involvement in the fight.  Holladay resigned on Monday from his position as head coach, but the suspension keeps him from going to another AHSAA school and coaching there.

As a part of the sanctions, a second year of restrictive probation will be assessed to Walker High School if Holladay returns as head coach.  If he is not the coach, the school will be assessed a one-year probationary period that is non-restrictive.

Walker High School is currently on non-restrictive probation for a flagrant unsportsmanlike incident during the 2012 football season that resulted in a similar incident.

Cullman High School has been placed on probation for the remainder of the 2013 season and received a warning that should similar incident occur, restrictive sanctions may be assessed.

Restrictive probation limits the school’s football teams ability to participate in post-season games and prevent the team from participating in an interscholastic football contest including more than two schools, including championships, for the duration of the restrictive probation.

“The AHSAA encourages the two schools to work together to enhance relations between their student-athletes and communities and, in doing so, demonstrate the leadership necessary to foster the AHSAA’s mission of good sportsmanship in interscholastic athletics,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese.

“It is time to take the focus away from this isolated event and note the outstanding sportsmanship that is exhibited across our state by our member schools, teams and coaches each week. Let’s now move forward and accent the positive impact education-based athletics makes daily in the lives of our student-athletes, coaches, schools and communities,” said Savarese.

The AHSAA recommended to both schools that they have their players and coaches complete a professional development course administered by the AHSAA’s mentoring program.  If a school’s team and coaches complete the program, the $1,500 fine for each school will be reduced to $1,000.

The Superintendent of Cullman City Schools Dr. Doreen Griffeth released a statement praising head football coach Mark Britton for his winning record and competing without any player ejections or AHSAA fines in the past few years.

“…The Cullman High School versus Walker High School football game was intensely contested, and was decided in the final 18 seconds. The players on both teams conducted themselves well throughout the game. No player or coach on either team was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct during the game.  We deeply regret that such an outstanding contest will be remembered for the events that occurred after the final whistle,” said Griffeth.

“Cullman City Schools, as a longtime member of the AHSAA, is committed to continuing our practice of meeting the highest standards of sportsmanship in all of our athletic programs. In accordance with our membership, we will abide by the sanctions that have been imposed and we look forward to turning a difficult event into a bridge to increased sportsmanship across all of our athletic programs,” said Griffeth.