Amid some unusual circumstances, a school in Tennessee is introducing its third head football coach in the span of a week.
On Monday, with little football coaching experience, Nick Lingerfelt became the third head coach of the season for David Crockett (Jonesborough, Tenn.).
The move to Lingerfelt as interim coach comes a week after former NFL safety Gerald Sensabaugh was placed on indefinite administrative leave as head coach.
Sensabaugh, who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys in an eight-year NFL career, led the Pioneers to a record of 5-2 to start his first season. According to the Johnson City Press, Sensabaugh was placed on administrative leave after being reprimanded for verbal abuse of players. The decision was made unilaterally by Washington County Director of Schools Kimber Halliburton and was predicated by his decision to allegedly practice a player who was being treated by a doctor and therefore was not allowed to practice, according to last week’s report by WATE.
Sensabaugh made claims of improprieties against the administration, claims that are currently under investigation.
Stepping into the interim role with Sensabaugh out was Brandon Qualls. After a 35-13 loss to Bristol’s Tennessee High, Qualls was then dismissed. Per the Johnson City Press, his dismissal came after failing to comply with the administration’s directive to unite the players.
“After Friday night’s game, there were still a lot of sensitive feelings over what the boys went through,” Halliburton told the Johnson City Press. “We had promised the players if they came to the game, even if they had missed practices, they would be allowed to play and would have forgiveness and it wouldn’t be brought up.
“But Coach Qualls indicated to the players the team could have won if some of them hadn’t gone to the rally and came to practice instead. After this, a few of the players didn’t want to play any longer.”
This move comes during the week of the annual Musket Bowl, a game against rival Daniel Boone.
Lingerfelt, meanwhile, was hired three months ago to be the Pioneers’ head baseball coach. He spent time talking with interim athletic director John Good, who took over when AD Josh Kite was placed on administrative leave as part of the Sensabaugh situation.
“Everybody has been looking at all the problems that have been going on… instead of focusing on the problems we are going to focus on the solution,” Lingerfelt said, per WJHL. I just felt like as a person, it was my responsibility to step up and say, ‘Hey, if these kids want to play, I’ll be there. And if they decide to not to, I’ll support them in that too.’…It’s not about me. I support these kids.”
Meanwhile, Sensabaugh’s tenure at Crockett might not be completely done. Sensabaugh told WCYB on Monday that regardless of what the investigation reveals, he would be open to the idea of returning to the school under the right circumstances.
What a wild time for the Davy Crockett football program.