Former assistant named Apollo-Ridge coach
When the Apollo-Ridge Vikings take the football field today, they will be led by former assistant and now acting head coach Ed Shaffer.
District Superintendent Cheryl Griffith said it is Shaffer who will be in charge of the team against Riverview today and for the remainder of the season.
Initially, head coach Jerry Moore, who has been suspended for the rest of the season for reasons that have not been made public, said assistant coach Dave Grimm would take over.
But Griffith said that after Moore was suspended, athletic director Larry Lizik met with the football coaching staff.
"Our athletics director had met with the assistants and explained that coach Moore would not be participating and asked them to give considerable thought as to which one of them should step up and take over leadership of the program," Griffith said.
"They conferred among themselves, and I am sure that they were able to consider the pros and cons for each one of them in assuming that role," she said.
She said Shaffer has coached in the district "off and on" for 20 years in various sports.
As for Moore's situation, Griffith called it "an unfortunate situation," but would not discuss in specifics the reason for his suspension. She said she cannot discuss it because it is a personnel matter.
"It's definitely role-related, related to athletics and not the classroom," she said. "It's not really about football per se, but the issue itself is related to his role as a head football coach."
Moore also is a teacher at the middle school. Griffith said his position there is not affected by the suspension.
When asked about Moore's future as the high school football coach, Griffith replied, "It's questionable."
She said Moore is permitted to have contact with the coaching staff. However, she said he "is not working with the student-athletes" until further notice.
Contacted Friday night, Moore refused to talk about the reason for the suspension and was reluctant to say anything.
"They are doing everything they can to take care of the situation," he said. "Everything is being taken care of pretty well right now. I'm just going to let everything work itself out."
He would not say if he will request a hearing on the matter which, according to Griffith, he is entitled to do.
Also, he would not say if the Apollo-Ridge Education Association, the teachers union, has intervened on his behalf. Griffith said that the union is working on Moore's behalf.
"I have to trust the people who are taking care of it," Moore said.
In the absence of a reason or explanation for the suspension, Griffith cautioned the public about rushing to judgment in regard to Moore.
"There is no reason to do that," she said. "I would hope that they would have the confidence that the district and the administration will be thorough and objective and do the right thing by the students and the staff."