Former Phenix City football coach decries secrecy, politics - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Former Phenix City football coach decries secrecy, politics surrounding his termination

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

For the first time since he was fired from his position as Central High School's head football coach, Woodrow Lowe is talking publicly about the issue. 

He addressed the school board at Tuesday night's meeting with what he said are unanswered questions. 

His termination comes after four winning seasons with trips to the state playoffs. The former NFL player was with the San Diego Chargers for twelve years and made it to the College Hall of Fame for his time with Alabama, but he was fired from a coaching job at his high school alma mater.

For the past three months, Woodrow Lowe has been silent on the matter, but he broke that silence at the latest Phenix City school board meeting, addressing the people he accuses of never giving him a direct answer on the subject.

"I'm still at a loss of knowing exactly why.  Some of the reasons were kind of phony," said Lowe.

Lowe says the high school principal is the only person who spoke to him face-to-face, telling him the district was "dissatisfied with performance."  Lowe complains that officials never gave him a more specific explanation. 

In his public statement to the board, Lowe addressed rumors he's heard circulating through the community about the true reason for his termination. These include concerns about his health, working the team too hard, and not putting a certain player in a game.  He had answers for all of the perceived concerns, going so far as to bring a doctor's note to attest to his good health.

He also had questions for the board regarding the process that led to hiring his replacement.  In his questioning, he insinuated the present coach is a friend of a current board member who got the job without a vacancy being announced, and without any other candidates being interviewed.

One of Lowe's volunteer assistants spoke in his defense after the meeting, saying he felt there was a conspiracy from the beginning among Lowe's coaching staff to chase him off because they didn't like him personally.  He says the other coaches routinely sabotaged Lowe's coaching efforts in moves designed to make him look bad.

"That's the way it was. Anything we wanted to do that was good for Coach Lowe, they fought it," said Steve Franklin.

We tried to get a response to these statements from the school board members at the end of their meeting, but they all declined to make a comment, referring us to the board's attorney, who also had nothing to say.

Woodrow Lowe hinted that he believes the decision to fire him may have been racially motivated, at least in part, but he stopped short of making an overt statement to that effect.

The district offered Lowe a job as a physical education teacher at an elementary school instead of the high school, but he declined to make that move.

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