David Crockett football coach critiques school system; team's practice abruptly canceled
Things are heating up off the field at David Crockett High School. Its football coach said his team is being punished because of some harsh critiques he's recently made about the county school system.
Coach Gerald Sensabaugh has been very vocal about his concerns about the school system on social media. Among his complaints, he said his team needs an updated facility and more athletic trainers.
He said, Sunday night, he got a call from the school principal, canceling Monday's practice without a direct reason.
The Pioneers are on a winning streak. They are undefeated in their district. And they have a big game against district rivals, Tennessee High, this Friday. So this week's practice is crucial.
The coach said some of his players tried to practice on their own on Monday. But when they arrived at the high school, a school board member told them to leave.
So instead, the team went to a movie. News 5 caught up with them outside the theater. Many of the players said they stand behind their coach.
Sensabaugh said when he was hired, there was only $17 in the football team's account. Since then, he's held fundraisers and paid for a lot of things out of his own pocket.
"Just starting up the concession stands, charting out buses for them to go to games on a charter bus - making them feel like a real football team," Sensabaugh said. "And I just feel that the county just isn't in support. They just want a coach to come in here and win games. But they don't really care about the wellbeing of the kids."
"I thought it was a little crazy because Coach Sensabaugh prepares us for life and holds us accountable for our actions," junior Mark Seidler said. "And we're set to a high standard and the county is against that."
News 5 checked with the other high school in the county system, Daniel Boone. It confirmed its football team did have practice, Monday. There will be a rally in support of Sensabaugh in front of the administrative office on Wednesday.
On Twitter, students posted they plan to support the coach by wearing black at Friday's game.
News 5 has reached out to the county school system for a response, leaving several messages with the superintendent, Kimber Halliburton, and other school board members. So far, none of our calls or messages have been returned.