Updating the Marion County, Tennessee, big, big mess

beaverdamusa.com coach billy jack hooverUPDATE: We’re not a news source here at BeaverDamUSA.com, but since I wrote about the Marion County, Tennessee, school vandal scandal when it first broke, I feel obligated to bring you up to speed on this crazy story. It started with Marion County HS assistant coach Michael Schmitt’s arrest for allegedly vandalizing his own team’s field house  before a rivalry game to motivate his team. That’s what my original blog, below, talked about.

Within the past 2 days, another assistant coach, Joe Dan Gudger, was also arrested and charged with vandalizing the Marion County Warriors’ field house and being in illegal possession of alcohol on school property. (I’m not sure the old “I was drunk” defense will work, but at least he can give it a try.) . And a third assistant, Tim Starkey, was fired for allegedly breaking into another school’s field house and stealing a playbook.

The following day, head coach Mac McCurry resigned to avoid being fired, according to news reports.

And you want to know how it all fell apart? Text messages. Freaking texts obtained by the cops between Starkey and Schmitt in which they implicate themselves, Gudger and McCurry.

See the texts here on deadspin.com.

In the original blog, I took Schmitt’s side for being a master motivator. Sure it was 90% tongue-in-cheek, but I did think he was creative. Now, with the smoke (hopefully) cleared, it’s just a big mess created by by what deadspin.com called “the worst coaching staff ever.”

ORIGINAL POST: I once heard of a coach who rammed his fist through the locker room wall to motivate his team. Broke it in 3 places. He never played the violin again.

Image via timesfreepress.com, credit Doug Strickland

Image via timesfreepress.com, credit Doug Strickland

That’s pretty neat trick. But if the Marion County, Tenn., Sheriff’s case against coach Michael Schmitt holds up, this will make that look like a broken fingernail.

In the early morning hours before the Marion County vs. South Pittsburg rivalry football game a couple of weeks ago, vandals defaced Marion County’s field house and adjacent buildings with orange and black spray paint — South Pittsburg’s school colors. In a photo from The Chattanooga Times Free Press web site, the graffiti included “SP” and “(seven) and counting” in reference to South Pittsburg’s 7 straight victories over Marion County.

Listen to this week’s episode of SEC Pigskin Picks here

Now, however in a crazy turn of events, Schmitt — a Marion County assistant coach — has been arrested for doing it. According to the newspaper, “Officers involved in the investigation believe the vandalism was an attempt to inspire the Marion County football team before its game against county rival South Pittsburg.” The paper also mentioned that the Sheriff’s department would not confirm or deny whether other Marion County coaches are suspected of being involved.

The paper quoted the Marion County Schools Superintendent as saying whether Schmitt keeps his job depends on whether he is found guilty of the charges.


Do you want a run-of-the-mill coach or a motivational mastermind on your staff? Give me Coach Schmitt any day. If you did it, you’d better own it. Write a book. Hit the speaker’s circuit. This is pure sports motivation gold. Coach Schmitt, I want you in my fox hole.

Who won the game? South Pittsburg. Is anybody going to remember that 25 years from now?

Just ask the coach who broke his arm.

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