Despite a show of support at the Whitfield County Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, it appears Chip Kell’s days as head football coach at Southeast High School are done.

The board heard from three Kell supporters, but board chairman Charles Oliver said Wednesday that Kell’s position as coach was not even on the agenda.

Southeast principal Alan Long gave Kell an ultimatum to resign or be fired on Dec. 10 and Kell chose the latter.

“We took no action on Mr. Kell, and no action was required,” Oliver said. “Any coaching position is not a tenured position. There was no discussion because the board has no voice in such matters. Those coaching positions are filled by the school principal, and we should not have any influence. That’s not the role of the board.

“There was no termination of Mr. Kell’s contract. He still has a contract to teach and can teach through the remainder of that contract. The process by which a principal decides he’s not using a teacher in a coaching position is standard procedure.”

Fred Gould, the local representative with the teachers’ union Georgia Association of Educators, presented the board with packets of information from a committee he said supports retaining Kell as coach.

“Reasons were given for why this action occurred. There’s a concern on the part of the committee that documentation may not have been a part of the process that led to the reason (for the removal),” Gould told the board Tuesday. “We believe Coach Kell has been nothing but a stellar example of the type of individual that Whitfield County should and would want as a leader of a football program. We believe he’s demonstrated that in many ways.”

Gould said the packets include information from Kell’s personnel file and should not be made public unless Kell chooses to do so. Oliver said Wednesday the packets included letters, testimonials and records of some of the positive things Kell has done at Southeast.

“The information ranged over a previous number of years,” Oliver said. “I think they wanted to make a good impression to the board, but we have no role in deciding who’s a coach.”

Board vice chairman Jerry Nealy agreed with Oliver.

“I’ll listen to anyone and anything they have to say,” Nealy said, “but we have a principal in place. It’s his call, and we support the principal in his decision.”

Gould said the board has the power to overturn the recommendation.

“They are the employer. I’ll leave it at that,” he said.

Kell said Wednesday he appreciated the support at Tuesday’s meeting, which he attended.

“I was very impressed and proud of them. I appreciated it. A whole lot more people weren’t there because they weren’t aware of the meeting,” said Kell, who declined to discuss the information Gould presented on advice from his attorney, Randy Bates.

“I’ve always worked with the paper and done the best I could to give information about our team, schedule and coaches, but this is a situation my advisers say I can’t comment about,” Kell said.

Long, in Dallas, Texas, this week for career training, said by phone that he met with members of the board and school administrators in the period leading up to his removing Kell as coach.

“Any time you dismiss someone, it’s a negative situation. And I won’t discuss negative personnel issues,” Long said. “There were a series of things we looked at. Our decision was based on productivity. You can say that 4-6 (in 2005) and 7-33 (overall) is a good record, or that we’ve had 10 coaches in 30 years. But we’ve only had two in the last 10 years.”

Long said the decision had nothing to do with a hazing incident that occurred at football camp last year.

“There were issues that caused us to do this, but not any one thing like losing control of the program. The coaches did a good job handling the situation at camp,” Long said. “I like Coach Kell. I don’t have a bad thing to say about Chip Kell.”

Southeast athletics director Scott Ramsey has told The Daily Citizen he hopes the football position will be filled by February.

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