A Lebanon High School assistant football coach charged with aggravated assault after police say he head-butted a 16-year-old player has been fired from the coaching staff.
Howard Tobias “Toby” Bates, 42, of Mt. Juliet stepped between two players who were arguing at football practice Tuesday and asked one of the players if he wanted to fight, police say.
Witnesses told police that’s when Bates head-butted the player and made explicit threats.
Two other assistant coaches reported the incident Wednesday to school officials, who contacted police. The alleged victim’s mother asked that criminal charges be filed.
No one was seriously injured. Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen said the player was wearing a helmet at the time of the incident.
Bates is free on a $5,000 bond, with a court date scheduled for Oct. 2. Efforts to reach Bates were unsuccessful.
Bates resigned after the 2013-14 school year as a health science teacher at Lebanon High but remained as an assistant football coach this school year.
The school district initially removed Bates as a coach pending the investigation. But Thursday afternoon, Bates was terminated.
“In looking at what was in the best interest of (Lebanon High) and the football team, Mr. Bates was notified that he would no longer serve as the assistant coach, regardless of the outcome of the investigation,” Wilson County Director of Schools Donna Wright said.
There were no other disciplinary actions or incidents in Bates’ file with Wilson County Schools, Wright said.
Lebanon opens its football season Friday at Mt. Juliet.
“Most players are more resilient than we are as adults,” Lebanon head football coach Sam Harp said. “They will be fine. They have already moved on, and so should we all.”
Reach Andy Humbles at 615-726-5939 and on Twitter @AndyHumbles.