SP Coach Controversy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Controversial hire pops up at South Panola

By Rupert Howell

One of 20 new hires at South Panola’s trustee board meeting last Tuesday brought criticism from one trustee, but no action from other board members, during an executive session following a budget hearing Friday.

That hire was assistant basketball coach Marlon Dorsey who made national news in 2010 when an Internet video showed him striking one of his Murrah High School basketball players with a weight lifting belt during a practice, an incident not uncommon according to other reports.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Jackson media as well as ABC and ESPN picked up the story after an attorney for parents of three of the players filed suit.

When told of the new hire’s background, trustee Buddy Gray asked, “Don’t you think  board members should be told about backgrounds like this before we’re asked to approve a list of employees?”

Trustees hire only the district superintendent, although they do vote whether to approve the superintendent’s recommendations for hire. School principals generally make their school’s staff hiring recommendations to the superintendent.

During Tuesday’s meeting, district Superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer told trustees that Dorsey would be assistant girl’s and boy’s basketball coach.

When The Panolian contacted Lance Pogue, who holds the title of athletic director at South Panola as well as head football coach, he said he would rather not comment on the matter after admitting that he and current basketball coaches Charlie Howard and Ralph Stallings were unaware of the recommendation to hire Dorsey.

Shaffer said that he was aware of Dorsey’s background and that he was a believer in second chances while explaining that once someone makes a mistake such as Dorsey, it would be unlikely to happen again.
Shaffer also said that he thought Dorsey would be good for South Panola’s basketball program.