In a high school coaches fight on Friday night, Cullman’s Matt Hooper found himself covered in blood, having been struck by Walker’s head coach, John Holladay. Soon after the final whistle of the Cullman-Walker football game, the fight suddenly erupted in the center of the playing field.
A spokesman for the Alabama High School Athletics Association (AHSAA) said today that neither school will be banned from playing football at this time. The executive director of the AHSAA, Steve Savarese, said the AHSAA would come to a decision as to what course of action they would take against the teams. He said in an official statement:
The AHSAA is saddened by the incident that occurred during the Cullman vs. Walker varsity football game and disappointed by the actions of those involved. The AHSAA is always disappointed by any unsportsmanlike incident that involves players or coaches from our member schools. Our coaches are teachers first, and must demonstrate examples of good sportsmanship at all times. We truly understand the passions that are involved in competitive athletics, but we can never allow those passions to cross the line and become unsportsmanlike in nature. This is an isolated incident, and is not indicative of the good sportsmanship demonstrated by the more than 10,000 coaches in our state each day. Once our investigation is complete, we will release our findings to the member schools involved. When that process has been completed, the AHSAA will release a statement. Any subsequent statements or information must then come from the member schools involved.
AHSAA spokesman Ron Ingram said that he doesn’t recall there ever being such a high school coaches fight during his tenure. The fight, which took place in full view of the teams and the spectators, was said by a play announcer to be the “saddest thing” he has witnessed in high school sports history.
Veteran sports commentator Jimmy Dale has proudly covered Bearcats games for over two decades. He spoke about the fight:
“It’s the saddest thing I’ve ever seen in high school sports here because everybody is going to forget it was a great game. They aren’t going to remember the great game Walker played, the great game Cullman played. It goes down to the final 18 seconds and nobody is going to remember that. Those kids are the ones who really lose in this.”
It remains to be seen what disciplinary action the AHSAA will take against the teams for the high school coaches fight. Jasper police are carrying out a separate investigation into the incident.