Parkway High School principal Waylon Bates has relieved David Feaster of his duties as the Panthers head football coach after six seasons.
Feaster, who recently began to teach math, is still employed by the school. The news was first reported by The Times.
“Coach Feaster and I do not share the same philosophy or vision for Parkway High School athletics,” Bates said in a statement.
Feaster and Parkway recently received national attention for a banishment of Alabama football coaches from Parkway’s campus, although Crimson Tide personnel were unwelcome for more than one year before Feaster told local radio host Tim Fletcher of the ban in 2015.
“Most people are going to say ‘Feaster just ran his mouth,’ but (Parkway) made it clear to me why they fired me,” Feaster told The Times. “They can say what they want to about Alabama, but (Bates) cited me for insubordination. He said, ‘You should have checked with me before you banned Alabama.’
“I said, ‘That was four years ago, you weren’t even the principal here.’ But he said I brought so much negative publicity to the school I had to go.”
Feaster, who tops Parkway’s all-time wins list at 59-17, met with the Panthers football team Friday morning.
Feaster maintains feelings Alabama head football coach Nick Saban and his assistants mishandled the recruiting of former Parkway and LSU quarterback Brandon Harris.
“I will never allow Alabama in our field house ever again,” Feaster told The Tim Fletcher Show in November 2015.
The Alabama dust-up came to light again this week when Feaster reiterated his thoughts about Alabama with Fletcher and called Alabama football “unethical” on a Baton Rouge radio station (104.5 FM ESPN).
Feaster said Alabama initially offered Harris and “six other QBs.” He said the “offer” was simply an invite to camp. While Saban eventually delivered a scholarship to Harris, the damage had been done.
“Am I the only coach who does this?” Feaster said of coaches banning schools. “Surely, I thought this was a fairly common practice. I stand by the idea: If you’re going to do that to Brandon Harris, you’re going to do that to (current Parkway quarterback) Justin Rogers or (wide receiver) Terrace Marshall, too. I tell the kids, ‘If you want to go to Alabama, go to Alabama. I’m not going to help them recruit you because an offer is not necessarily an offer.’
“I’ll deal with the guys who have integrity.”
The current Parkway administration didn’t take kindly to the attention and felt Feaster was “undermining” school officials and potentially hurting other Panthers athletes who could be recruited by Alabama.
Feaster was surprised about the ramifications of a decision made long ago.
“Is it fair? That’s a great question,” said Feaster, who served under Parkway’s former principal Nichole Bourgeois. “I don’t want to characterize Nichole’s feelings, she’s now the assistant superintendent, so she may want to weigh in on this later.
“I would say she hired me to be the football coach and ‘you go make these decisions. If you get on the radio and talk about stuff, you deal with what people say about it.’ I always felt she may not have agreed with everything I said, but she felt it was my job and I should do it.”
The incident was the “third or fourth” for Feaster and ultimately his undoing.
In 2012, Feaster, disappointed in the attendance of rival fans during his first year at Parkway, forbid visiting radio broadcasts, saying he simply had the “best interest,” of his players and his school at heart.
In 2014, Parkway failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 10 years when the Panthers were forced to forfeit five games for playing Rogers, who was an ineligible freshman backup.
The Panthers have been very successful on the field during Feaster’s tenure. The Panthers have lost more than two games in a season just once — Feaster’s first year. He was named The Times’ Coach of the Year in 2013 as Harris helped the Panthers to their first state title game appearance, even after the school was banned from hosting a home playoff game.
Feaster and the Panthers tied for district championships in 2012 and 2015 and scored one outright District 1-5A title in 2013. In 18 years, Feaster is 168-66 as a head coach.
“I don’t understand firing a guy who has won 80-90 percent of his games. How do you fire that guy?” Harris told Fletcher on Friday. “He’s the coach that put Parkway on the map. Who do you replace him with? I’ll put Coach Feaster against any coach in the (Shreveport-Bossier) area.. He took our team, that really wasn’t that talented, to the championship game… we finished 14-1. I just don’t understand it. I’m at a loss for words.”
Feaster called the next two Panthers football classes “the best we’ve ever had at Parkway.” During Friday’s meeting with the team, the former coach offered up a simple message regarding football.
“Let’s go ahead and have the success we planned anyway,” Feaster said.
With a pair of children at Parkway and two sons in grade school, Feaster is unsure of his future.
“I have absolutely no plans at this point. I was not anticipating this,” he said. “My kids have to go to school where people hate their dad. It’s going to be awkward. Coaching is what I want to do. Up until yesterday, coaching was something I wanted to do.”
The current Panthers quickly took to social media Friday in support of their coach.
Y'all just messed up BIG TIME !— JG (@_justinrogers) February 17, 2017