The football coach at a Georgia high school has been fired less than a month after he allowed 20 players to be baptized following a practice, although it’s not clear if the two events are related.
Tattnall County School District announced last week that Isaac Ferrell would no longer be the head football coach at Tattnall County High School, adding he remains employed as a teacher. On Oct. 24, a video was posted on the team’s official Facebook page showing players being baptized in an outdoor trough.
The Facebook post read, “Yesterday after practice Coach Ferrell gave the guys the opportunity to be baptized by Pastor [Gary]Few. 20 young men made the decision to go #ALLIN with Christ!! Show them some support #BiggerThanFootball.” The baptisms sparked a complaint from the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
The school district, though, claims Ferrell was fired for a Nov. 3 incident.
“The safety and security of our students is paramount to Tattnall County Board of Education,” the district said. “Based on the outcome of an investigation into an incident that occurred Friday night, November 3rd, while traveling after the football game, the District decided that it would seek a Head football coach that aligned with the best interests of the students of Tattnall County for the 2024-2025 school year. As to any other allegations, the District does not comment during ongoing investigations.”
Although the baptisms ignited a debate about religion, at least some parents applauded the coach.
“It was so sweet because you see the boys, and they looked like they wanted it,” Latifa Johnson, the mother of a player, told WSAV. “You know, like everyone looked excited, from the ones I was able to see. [They were] cheering, thank you, God. Yes, yes, yes. I was all for it.”
Most of the comments on Facebook also were positive.
“Congratulations to you boys, this is so awesome,” one comment read. “Praise God, and Thank you, coaches, for leading them in the right direction. God is Good !!!”
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
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