VALDOSTA – While the ongoing investigation of Valdosta High School head football coach Rush Propst has made it to ESPN and other national media outlets, the veteran coach says he’s still in charge of the Wildcats.
Propst was placed on administrative leave March 9 and while it is unclear if Propst has been reinstated, Propst offered a comment on his status via text message Thursday.
Asked by The Valdosta Daily Times if he is still under administrative leave, Propst said, “I’m still running the program and spring practice starts April 29 on a Thursday.”
According to Propst, the ‘Cats will scrimmage against Jones County 8 p.m., May 15.
News of the investigation of Propst reached ESPN March 23. Mark Schlabach, ESPN senior writer, penned a story centered around the recorded conversation between Propst and Michael “Nub” Nelson, the former Valdosta High Touchdown Club director.
Schlabach writes, “What Nelson did last May might very well end the career of Rush Propst, one of the most controversial and successful high school football coaches in the country, while also exposing salacious allegations regarding recruiting at SEC superpowers Alabama and Georgia.”
A 64-page court deposition made numerous claims about misuse of funds intended for advertising, tampering with the coach search that led to Propst’s hiring at Valdosta and requests for “funny money” to pay rent for recruits and their families to stay in Valdosta.
Later in Schlabach’s piece, Nelson said he had concerns when Propst was hired but was willing to give him a chance.
“I got a taste of that Rush Kool-Aid too,” Nelson told ESPN. “At first, I did like him. I wanted things to go well. You wanted it to be good.”
In his first season at Valdosta, Propst led the ‘Cats to a 7-5 record and a Class 6A semifinals appearance against eventual state champion Buford.
This story will be updated as it develops.