(Memphis) Memphis City Schools has suspended a White Station High School football coach.
MCS confirms Devin Rutherford is suspended with pay pending the outcome of an investigation.
There are allegations Rutherford physically abused or disciplined at least one player. A spokesperson said that the district is investigating how many players may be involved.
According to MCS, a meeting with parents of the football players was held Wednesday night.
Rutherford has been with White Station High School since 2008 as head coach.
Parents have come out in support of Rutherford, saying they don’t believe the accusations are true.
“I was surprised, I was outraged, I was livid,” said Sonja Wilson. She and other parents searched for answers on why their coach wasn’t at school for the last three weeks.
Wednesday’s meeting, Wilson said, was purely informational, and not a session in which people commented negatively on the coach. School officials and a police investigator explained that it’s an ongoing investigation, and that little can be released at this time.
As of Thursday night, Rutherford has not been charged with a crime.
Wilson said their team of coaches are “very caring people. They love these children, they are very firm with them. But they are not abusive.”
Wilson said parents are always invited to watch practices, and that the coaches have an open-door policy.
Wendy Hodges, whose son played only his freshman year, remembers the open practices as well.
“The parents always sit outside. The booster club? Yeah, we’d sit outside the field and watch all the time.”
These moms cannot remember ever seeing inappropriate behavior by any coach.
“I think it’s just a bunch of spoiled kids that, they don’t want to be disciplined,” Hodges said.
But on the chance that the accusations are true, Hodges is glad there’s a proper system in place to fully investigate.
Last fall, White Station High School’s football team was in the spotlight for allegations of hazing. That investigation led to the forfeiture of one game and the discipline of several students and staff.