Mixon fired

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 21, 2007

as head coach

By Austin Phillips

Donald Ray Mixon, Georgiana High School athletic director and head football and baseball coach, was relieved of his athletic duties and placed on a five-day suspension without pay Thursday night as the Butler County Board of Education voted unanimously to terminate Mixon's contract.

Superintendent Mike Looney called for an executive session during Thursday night's meeting in which he presented the board with evidence of Mixon's insubordination and violation of the school system's Internet use policy.

Mixon's dismissal as head coach comes a week after a student alleged improper misconduct by the coach, although the dismissal was independent of those charges. He remains on staff at Georgiana as a physical education teacher.

Mixon was placed on administrative leave with pay on Thursday, April 12.

Contacted by phone on Friday, Mixon declined to comment on the dismissal.

Although Looney would not comment on the nature of the insubordination and violation of the Internet use claims, he did say they were not related to the charges filed by the student.

&#8220I gave Coach Mixon some very clear and concise guidelines to follow while he was place on administrative leave,” Looney said. &#8220He failed to adhere to those guidelines.”

In regards to the violation of the school system's Internet use policy, Looney said the Board of Education has turned over its investigation to the Butler County Sheriff's Office.

An investigation by the sheriff's department into the student's claims of impropriety and into the violation of the Internet use policy is still ongoing.

Joseph Dean, Georgiana High principal, said he is deeply saddened and hurt by what has transpired over the last week, but he added he hopes everyone can move on in a positive direction.

&#8220Words cannot even express how disappointed I am,” Dean said. &#8220It's been as good as it can be and it's been as bad as it can be.”

&#8220I'm just hurt,” he added.

The Panthers are scheduled to begin spring football practice Tuesday and Dean said he will step in to fill the void left by Mixon until a new coach and athletic director can be found.

&#8220My first objective is to keep things normal,” Dean said. &#8220I want to be thorough in the (hiring) process, but I want to keep going with what we've put together.”

Even though the Georgiana football players will be under the leadership of an interim head coach for the second straight spring, Dean wants the players to know that the Georgiana Panther spirit will never die.

&#8220These kids have worked really hard, in the weight room and in the classroom, during the off-season and it would be an injustice not to give them the best opportunity available,” Dean said.

Looney said the process to begin searching for a new Georgiana athletic director, head football coach and head baseball coach will begin immediately.