Propst gets certificate back, hopes to coach again in Georgia

A day after the Georgia Professional Standards Commission reinstated his teaching certificate, former Colquitt County football coach Rush Propst said Friday that he hoped to be on Georgia sidelines again this fall.

Propst won 119 games and two state titles over 11 seasons at Colquitt County in Moultrie before being fired by the school board on March 14, 2019. Propst spent last season as a volunteer assistant at UAB while still living in Moultrie.

“Going ahead for Rush Propst, I’d like to stay in Georgia,’’ Propst told AJC.com Friday morning. “I would like to coach again in this state now that I can and have my certificate back. But I know that we’re past 85 or 90 percent of the hiring season. Most of the jobs have come and gone.’’

About 60 jobs in Georgia have come open, and about 18 are unfilled, but in recent years, the final turnover count has exceeded 90 and still might in 2020.

The most high-profile current opening resides at Valdosta High, which controversially fired its coach, Alan Rodemaker, last month despite a state title in Rodemaker’s first season, 2016. Propst said he had been contacted by Valdosta administrators days ago but not interviewed.

‘’If the Valdosta job comes available, I would take it in a heartbeat,’’ Propst said. “It’s the winningest high school football program in history. I would not turn that job down if fortunate enough to be offered. That’s the job right now that would interest me most.’’

Propst said he also would pursue full-time college opportunities but, again citing a late start, acknowledged the possibility of coaching again as a volunteer assistant or biding his time with the broadcasting and podcasting opportunities until a full-time opportunity availed itself for 2021.

Propst lost his job at Colquitt County after a school board investigation led by superintendent Doug Howell alleged violations of the state code of ethics for educators. According to Propst, the standards commission investigated three of them – providing prescription medication to student-athletes, failure to request hotel expenses properly from the school district and failure to file taxes for seven years.

The commission did not consider accusations that Propst had lost control of the team after a loss in the 2018 state championship game or that he interfered with the hiring of a principal.

Propst released a statement Thursday and called the commission’s ruling ‘’vindication.’’ 

‘’The Georgia PSC’s actions today confirm that the allegations by ... the Colquitt County Board of Education ... were exactly the half-truths and intentional misinformation we said they were from the beginning,’’ Propst said in the statement. “The only logical explanation for their unprofessional conduct was to significantly damage my reputation in an attempt to gain support for their decision to dismiss me as the Head Coach of the Colquitt County Packers and to slander my reputation in hopes that I would not be able to continue to develop young men and inspire future players and coaches.’’

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