TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — A high school football head coach got cut from his team after reportedly telling one of his players to injure an opponent.
Leon County Schools (LCS) is reassigning Kevin Pettis, Chiles High School’s head football coach, after reviewing the results of an independent investigation.
The investigation was related to an allegation that Pettis solicited one of his players to injure a player on the opposing team during a game last fall, according to Tallahassee Reports.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the district said the “documents related to this case will be released in accordance with school board policy” and that the investigation’s findings will be sent to the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) for review.
“I do not agree with [LCS Superintendent Rocky Hanna’s] decision and I am looking into my options and next steps,” Pettis said in a statement to WCTV. “I feel that this was a targeted narrative against myself and Chiles High, similar to the investigation against [Chiles] principal [Joe] Burgess in 2021. Rocky and the district have handled my case and Mr. Burgess’ previous case different from any other disciplinary matters in the County.”
Pettis was referring to the district’s two-week suspension of Burgess for allegedly paying employees in a way that was “grossly improper.”
TRAGEDY IN 2014
In 2014, one of Pettis’ players – William Shogran Jr. – died from heat exhaustion during a summer practice while he was the head coach for Sebastian River High School.
Shogran’s parents filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the Indian River County School District, according to TC Palm, alleging that Pettis ignored the health problems the 14-year-old boy was experiencing. They claimed their son had thrown up at least three times during and in between practices on the day he died.
The Shograns settled their lawsuit against the district for $300,000 – the maximum amount of money the district’s liability consortium is required to pay without a special act of the Florida Legislature.
“The football team was supposed to have an athletic trainer present and an ice tub on site,” TC Palm reported in 2018. “After the death, neither the school district nor FHSAA objectively investigated their son’s death or held officials responsible for not following school policy.”
“It’s like committing a crime and a police officer stops you and he says, ‘You did something wrong. Just don’t do it again,' and that happens every single time,” said William Shogran Sr., a state trooper, told the newspaper. “Why would you ever listen to the rules? They obviously were not worried about breaking the rules.”
The Florida Standard reached out to FHSAA regarding the 2014 incident but did not receive a response.