Valdosta places Rush Propst on administrative leave following ‘funny money’ accusations

Rush Propst (right) disagrees with an official. (Casey Sykes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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Rush Propst (right) disagrees with an official. (Casey Sykes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Valdosta City Schools placed Valdosta High football coach Rush Propst on administrative leave this week, the Valdosta Times reported Thursday afternoon.

The school district confirmed last week that it was investigating Propst, one of the nation’s more successful and controversial high school coaches, following accusations by a former football booster-club director that Propst sought money to help two transfer athletes pay living expenses.

ExploreUGA investigates Rush Propst allegations of payments to players

Michael “Nub” Nelson, the former Valdosta TD Club director who made the allegations, secretly taped a conversation he had last year with Propst, who could be heard claiming that Alabama and Georgia routinely paid football players thousands of dollars to play for those college programs. An audiotape was released on social media earlier this week.

Nelson stated in a deposition last month that Propst last year asked for $15,000 in what Propst called “funny money” to be kept in his desk drawer, presumably to help secure players transferring to Valdosta.

Propst, best known for his time at Hoover High in Alabama and Colquitt County in Moultrie, became Valdosta’s coach last spring, and he led the Wildcats to a Class 6A semifinal finish.

Valdosta had to forfeit its opening victory against Warner Robins over the use of an ineligible player, who was quarterback Jake Garcia, a transfer from California. Nelson alleged that Propst attempted to help Garcia with $2,500 in monthly rent. Garcia later transferred to Grayson, won a state title there, and now is enrolled at the University of Miami.

Garcia’s ineligibility at Valdosta, ruled on by the Georgia High School Association, was not tied to improper payments, and it has not been proved that any payments were made to Garcia’s family.

Propst’s overall record in 31 seasons as a head coach is 302-101 with seven state titles, two at Colquitt County in Moultrie.

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