Board votes to remove controversial Georgia high school football coach Rush Propst

Nick Bromberg
·2 min read

Rush Propst's tenure at Valdosta High School has lasted just one season.

The Valdosta Board of Education voted Tuesday night not to extend Propst's contract. The coach has been on administrative leave since March when a recording of him making college pay-for-play allegations became public. 

The vote was 5-3 in favor of removing Propst. His contract will expire on June 30.

Propst has been one of the most successful — and controversial — high school football coaches in the country. Valdosta won seven games in 2020 to push Propst's career win total over 300. Seven of those wins no longer count. The school was told to forfeit those games earlier in April after an investigation into the use of ineligible players. 

The school was also fined $7,500 by the Georgia High School Association and placed on probation for 2021. That means the team is not eligible for the postseason this season, though Valdosta is appealing the decision.

The sanctions came after the recording of Propst’s comments was released. In it, Probst made vague allegations of pay-for-play at major college football programs. 

The remarks that got him in trouble with the state high school association were about Propst’s own team. The coach said in the recording that he needed the school’s booster club to raise money so he could pay for the living expenses for transferring players.

Those seven forfeits came after the GHSA had told Valdosta it needed to forfeit a game because prized QB recruit Jake Garcia was ineligible when he played for the school. Garcia, a former USC commit who ultimately signed with Miami, transferred to Valdosta from California in an attempt to play football in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The executive director of the booster club has testified in a sworn deposition that Garcia was one of the players Propst wanted to pay living expenses. That deposition came as part of a lawsuit by former coach Alan Rodemaker against the school regarding his dismissal. Rodemaker wasn't retained so the school could hire Propst.

And it's fair to say that Valdosta was well aware of Propst's baggage when it hired him in 2020. The longtime coach was the head coach at Hoover High School in Alabama when the school was featured on the MTV show "Two-a-Days." 

Propst resigned from Hoover in 2007 after myriad allegations that included grade-changing and the existence of a secret family in another city. He was also disciplined in 2016 for head-butting a player while at Colquitt County High School. He lost that job in 2019 after he was fired for ethics violations and a failure to pay his taxes.

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