The Herald Bulletin

March 11, 2014

Anderson High School football coach wants board hearing

Wigwam extension also on ACS agenda

By Stuart Hirsch The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — Veteran Anderson High School football coach Randy Albano said on Monday that school officials have decided to fire him after five years on the job.

Albano coached the Anderson Indians to a 35-24 victory over the Richmond Red Devils in November, snapping a 20-year football sectional victory drought, although the team still had a losing record for the season.

He said last week’s decision came without warning.

“I can tell you that this came out of the blue,” Albano said. “I had no idea this was going to happen.”

Albano said he’s spent 33 years coaching football, including 27 as head coach. The decision will not affect his status as a teacher.

Anderson High School Principal Terry Thompson declined to comment, calling the matter “an unresolved discussion on a personnel issue.”

As a coach, Albano serves on an “at-will” basis, meaning he can be fired for any reason, and he doesn’t question that.

“The school system can change coaches. That’s something they have the right to do,” said Kevin Eads, an Anderson attorney Albano has hired to represent him.

“There is some concern about whether Mr. Albano is going to have a hearing and be able to present his side of things,” to the Anderson Board of Trustees, which is scheduled to conduct its regular monthly meeting tonight.

The published public agenda does not include any specific mention of Albano’s status, but “we think in all fairness he ought to have a hearing,” Eads said. “There was an evaluation that was done and we have some real questions about how it was done and that it portrays him in a bad light.”

Eads said he hopes the board will conduct a hearing so Albano can speak on his own behalf.

The board tonight is also expected to discuss extending the deadline to preserve the Wigwam complex through the end of June.

The Anderson Community School Corp., which owns the Wigwam, had set a March 1 deadline for a private developer to take control of the facility or it would move forward with demolition plans.

However, a blue ribbon commission created by Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith in December has supported a proposal from Wigwam Sports Entertainment LLC, which has put together a preservation plan. The board is expected to consider that plan tonight.

The board is also expected to take action on a special program called the “Graduate Achievement Program,” an alternative school program for juniors and seniors who might otherwise attend Anderson High School, but have had difficulties, Thompson said. About 50 high school students could be eligible for the program.

In addition, about 25 students at Highland Middle School would also be eligible to take classes at the Ebbertt Education Center on 38th Street, he said.

“There are some kids that don’t learn in a traditional setting,” Thompson said. “This is an effort to try and keep our students in school.”

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If you go What: Anderson School Board meeting Where: Administration Center, 1600 Hillcrest Ave., Anderson When: 6 p.m. today