Collins out as NHS football coach

COVINGTON -- Just before fall football season is to start, Newton High School's head football coach is out.

After being on administrative leave for several days, Nick Collins was ousted as the coach due to an incident with a booster club parent and a football player.

"(He) will no longer serve as head football coach of Newton High School, but will remain an employee of the school system at this time," said Sherri Davis-Viniard, director of Public Relations for the Newton County School System. "Since this is a confidential personnel matter, no further information can be released."

On Aug. 9, Collins and the football team's booster club president Felicia Jackson reportedly had an argument in his office at the school about the payment of a stipend for an assistant coach.

"There was a disagreement on it," Collins said Wednesday afternoon. "We had a couple different conversations on it; they weren't bad conversations. Apparently she got upset about the conversations -- why I don't know -- and I left and went to a coaches meeting. While I was in the meeting, she came into the meeting and began to get irate. There were some words exchanged in the meeting and she left."

Jackson refused to comment Wednesday afternoon, but on the incident date, she told a Newton County Sheriff's Office deputy that Collins became irate and cursed at her when they spoke.

"She stated that as she turned to leave (his office), she heard something hit the wall like he threw something at her," said NCSO Public Information Officer Deputy Courtney Morrison, although Jackson said she didn't see anything thrown.

Morrison said Jackson then went to the parking lot where she met with Deputy Jeremy Vieira.

"Once the deputy got down there, he escorted her son to the locker room because he was supposedly quitting the team," Morrison said.

The deputy reportedly then escorted Jackson's son and another student to Collins' office in order to report that another player had lost a shoe and needed help finding it. Collins said on Wednesday that he told the student that he had already dealt with the issue of the shoe and there was nothing he could do until the next day.

"(The officer) proceeded to tell me I needed to chill out," Collins said on Wednesday. "About that time, the other kid stepped from behind him, who was Felicia's son, and threw his helmet and shoulder pads and hit me right in the head with it."

According to the deputy's report, Collins and the son argued, and the son said, "Don't talk to my mom like that."

"The coach became even more irate and tried to jump over the table toward the son, and three other coaches had to hold coach Collins back," Morrison said.

The deputy and the son then went to the parking lot. Collins followed a short time later after he continued the coaches meeting, and when he saw Jackson and her son, he approached them, and a verbal altercation ensued, according to the NCSO.

Collins said Jackson became irate, and the son started jumping up and down, screaming and cursing and trying to get at him.

"At one point I told him he needed to stay in a boy's place," Collins said. "He got loose and got behind me. When I turned to look at him behind me, the mom grabbed me, spun me around. I told her, 'Don't put your hands on me.'"

According to the deputy's report, Collins pointed his finger in the mother's face as they argued, and she slapped his hand away from her face.

"Then another student held the son back," Morrison said. "The deputy redirected the coach back to his vehicle, and then the coach turned his attention toward the son and tried to get to him in an aggressive manner."

The deputy was then able to get all parties involved to leave the scene. According to the NCSO, no charges have been filed in the incident.

Collins was hired by NCSS in July 2007 as a health and physical education teacher and, as of Wednesday, is still employed in that position under his current 2010-11 contract of employment. NHS assistant head football coach and defensive coordinator Cortez Allen will take over coaching duties for Collins on coach, Davis-Viniard said.

"School principals make all coaching assignments," she said. "The Board of Education approves contracts for teachers, not coaching assignments."

School Principal Roderick Sams said Wednesday that he and his school administrators feel good about where the program is headed.

"We definitely appreciate everything coach Collins has done for us," Sams said. "I feel he helped put the program in a good standing and headed in the right direction. But at this stage, we are ready to move forward with coach Allen as coach."

Editor Alice Queen and staff reporter Michelle Floyd contributed to this report.