December 17, 2002
The Valdosta School Board didn't bat an eye in voting unanimously to fire Valdosta High School football coach Mike O'Brien at a called meeting Tuesday night.
Superintendent Sam Allen, who said last week he would discuss why he wanted to remove O'Brien after the meeting, instead refused to comment as did the other school board members who removed a head coach who won 77% of his games and a state championship in seven seasons.
O'Brien also led to Valdosta High to a runner-up finish in first year as head coach in 1996 and the state semi-finals last year where Valdosta lost to two-time defending AAAAA state champion Parkview-- who plays Brookwood in the state finals this week.
Almost everyone in the large crowd who attended the meeting at the Valdosta City Hall was in favor of the board keeping O'Brien.But the School Board refused to hear any public comments as they went into executive session.
After the session ended, a motion to remove O'Brien was made, seconded and approved by a nine-nothing vote.
Valdosta school officials promise a nationwide search for the high school program that became the first team in the United States to win 800 games this season.
But while Valdosta High may be one of the top high school football programs in the nation, some coaches could be scared away by a school board that removed a coach who became the third winningest in school history in only seven seasons.
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