November 10, 2017 11:03:32 AM
Isabelle Altman - [email protected]
The firing of Columbus High School football coach Randal Montgomery earlier this week caught the Columbus Municipal School District board of trustees off guard.
"I was surprised because the first I heard of it was when it was on WCBI," board president Jason Spears said Thursday.
He added no one from the administration had indicated they planned to fire Montgomery and that it had not been on the agenda for the upcoming board meeting Monday. The CMSD board must approve all personnel changes.
"It just seemed to be a unilateral decision by the superintendent," he said.
Montgomery contacted media outlets Tuesday to report he had been fired.
"(Officials) simply told me they wanted to go in a different direction," Montgomery told The Dispatch. "They asked me if I had any questions, and I didn't. The whole meeting lasted two minutes. I am really in shock. We had a bad season, but I didn't see this being the end result. We were working on something special."
Spears said Montgomery's contract with the district doesn't end until June of next year.
Over the last four seasons, Montgomery's teams were 20-26. This season, CHS finished with a 2-9 record after reaching the playoffs the two previous years. CHS had made the playoffs just once in the nine years prior to Montgomery's arrival.
Spears said he had "no clue" if it was this season's losses or something else that contributed to Montgomery's firing.
"I know (the team) had fallen off, but they had a lot of talent ... and a lot of good players coming through the system," he said.
Board member Frederick Sparks also said he hadn't heard the termination was coming and that he found out about it when the public did.
"I don't understand it myself," he said.
He otherwise declined to comment, saying Spears speaks for the board.
Board members Angela Verdell, Jo Shumake and Currie Fisher could not be reached by press time.
CMSD Superintendent Philip Hickman did not return calls from The Dispatch by press time.