COVINGTON -- The former Newton High School head football coach has been transferred to the Newton County School System's service center following an incident with a booster club parent and a football player in mid-August that led to his termination as head coach.
On Friday, the Newton County Board of Education approved personnel recommendations from NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews that included the transfer of Nick Collins, who also was a physical education teacher at Newton High, to the service center. The transfer was effective Tuesday, Aug. 31.
The transfer stems from an altercation that occurred after school on Aug. 9 between the football team's booster club president Felicia Jackson and her son, a player on the football team. According to a report from the Newton County Sheriff's Office, Collins cursed at Jackson during a meeting with her and later tried to jump over a table toward her son after he quit the team and threw his gear near Collins, resulting in a football helmet hitting him in the head. The three also continued a heated argument in the school's parking lot before each party left the property.
The NCSS service center, which is located on Covington Bypass, handles all of the logistics associated with the district, such as purchasing, school nutrition, maintenance, transportation and some elements of capital projects, said Dennis Carpenter, deputy superintendent for operations at NCSS.
"Mr. Collins will work under the leadership of Mike Barr, director of Support Services, and Jan Loomans, director of Operational Services, to lend support, as assigned, to special projects in any of the areas of service delivered at the NCSS service center," Carpenter said.
After an investigation of the incident with the booster club parent and football player, Collins was placed on administrative leave with pay and later terminated as the school's head football coach by school Principal Roderick Sams. A decision later was made to place Collins elsewhere, and Collins had requested Nyree Sanders, director of Human Resources at NCSS, place him at Clements Middle School. Collins was hired by NCSS in July 2007 as a health and physical education teacher at NHS.
"My goal is to be as out of sight as possible, and being placed at Clements will ensure that I will not have to be in proximity of Newton High or any other county high school ...," Collins said in an e-mail to Sanders, obtained by the Citizen via an Open Records request. "For that matter, the only other school in the county that I will have to be in proximity to on a daily basis will be Fairview Elementary, where my daughter is a student. This will (allow) me to see her more and allow me to pick her up after school. Again, I apologize for the unfortunate set of events that led to our meeting, and I will work with you in any way you deem necessary to make a smooth and quiet transition."
However, school system administration recommended that Collins be placed at the service center, with no reason given in documents provided through the Open Records request.
"Please rest assured that several options have been considered in order to make an appropriate decision that is in the best interest of the students that we serve," Sanders said in an e-mail response to Collins. "Hopefully, the final decision will assist you in moving forward and bring closure to the situation for everyone involved."
Although Collins remains an employee of NCSS, he also has been placed on a Professional Development Plan for close monitoring of his professional practices, and NCSS will report his conduct to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, according to a letter sent to Collins from Mathews, also obtained through the Open Records request.