Cleared EHS coach warns of home ploy

COVINGTON - The Eastside High School football coach recently cleared of charges in an apparent mortgage fraud investigation is looking forward to putting away the alleged criminals involved.

Last week, the state dropped charges against coach Joseph Richard "Rick" Hurst, head football coach and biology teacher at EHS, after he turned himself into DeKalb County Police Department in late November on theft by taking charges.

Hurst said Tuesday that he plans to serve as a witness in the trial against the other individuals charged in the investigation in DeKalb County.

"I'm extremely excited about telling my side of the story to a jury, if it gets that far," he said. "I'm not the only one ... who got swindled."

Although he said he didn't want to talk about too many details of the case, including what exactly he got involved with and how he met the other involved individuals, due to his pending witness status, he advises others to realize that some things are just too good to be true.

"It wasn't what I thought it was," he said. "If it had been done the way it was presented it to me, it could have been a very lucrative business venture."

He said now he has to work to rebuild his credit.

"You have to be careful; your credit is something that you work for your whole life," he said. "If you ever put it on the line, you're taking a huge risk."

Hurst said no student ever asked him about the case and he never heard any negative comments. He said he felt the best thing he did was talk to his football players and parents before the news of his arrest was made public.

"They let people know what I told them ... and backed me up 100 percent," he said.

If he had been working in another county, he said he doesn't feel he would be as fortunate - and also feels that he might not even have a job if he didn't work in the Newton County School System.

"I appreciate the administration of Newton County schools for backing me up and allowing it to work out on its own," he said.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.