The coach of an Alabama football program embroiled in a disturbing hazing case that garnered national attention — and subsequently led to three multi-million dollar lawsuits — has now officially resigned from his position. In a twist, he apparently finally stepped down so he could pursue another opportunity coaching a team where he wouldn’t also be around minors.
As reported by AL.com, now-former Mobile Davidson football coach Fred Riley announced his resignation from the school Monday. He had been on leave since August as claims about disturbing hazing incidents spread and three lawsuits were filed against the school and district.
A day later he had a new job as the general manager and head football coach of the Eastern Shore Vikings, a team in the new semi-pro American South Football Alliance (ASFA). The league plans to begin play in spring of 2020 with 18 teams across the South.
The two events are clearly connected. The ASFA announced its formation on Monday, and Riley was one of the first coaches linked to one of its franchises almost immediately thereafter. There is clearly a lag from today to the league’s anticipated kick off, but Riley will (in theory) have plenty to do to identify, recruit, sign and then coach players for the newly formed team.
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Riley has not spoken publicly about his decision and the career change, but he did post to social media, explicitly stating how important it was that he (and his wife) left high school football as part of the Davidson family.
“After careful consideration, it is very important for me and Susan to retire as Warriors,” Riley wrote on Facebook, per AL.com. “Serving as the athletic director and head football coach at Davidson for the past 14 years has been a great source of joy for me and my family. In addition, both of our sons received tremendous educations from Davidson. There have been so many of you that have made such a tremendous impact on our lives that we cannot begin to name you, just know you are loved and appreciated.”
Meanwhile, the hazing lawsuits that were brought against the Mobile County Board of Education, retired superintendent Martha Peek, retired principal Lewis Copeland, and Riley himself are apparently scheduled to proceed. There have been no reports of apparent settlement talks. The three cases are seeking a total of $36 million in damages against the school district and other plaintiffs.