Elba City Schools Superintendent Chris Mosley confirmed Tuesday night that Pate Harrison, the Tigers’ head football coach, has been placed on administrative leave and veteran assistant Glenn Johnson was named interim head coach.
“Right now, all of this is within the last 24 hours, and at this time all I am releasing is that I will confirm that he (Harrison) has been placed on administrative leave,” Mosley said. “I still have some work (investigating) to do so there is no further comment about it, but he is on administrative leave.”
Mosley verified that administrative leave means Harrison will not be involved at Elba as a teacher and as a coach.
“When you are administrative leave that means he will not be a part of the school or the program at this time,” Mosley said.
Mosley would not divulge what prompted the action, though, Harrison is a letter posted on the Elba High School Football website apologized for an incident Monday that involved his son at an Elba JV football game.
“By now most of you have heard that I embarrassed myself, the Elba football program, and my family,” Harrison said in his post. “In 14 years of coaching I have never truly lost my cool until my own child told me to shut up. That is no excuse for me snatching him up, and I apologize to everyone who was there to witness this event. I am truly sorry that my actions has put the team in a bind and the extra work on the coaches. The program is bigger than any one person and I know the team will continue to be successful.”
Mosley said there was no timetable on Harrison’s “administrative leave.”
“This is all new, so I prefer to keep numbers out of this until I have a little more time (to investigate),” Mosley said.
He did confirm that Johnson, a longtime assistant at the school and the head junior varsity coach, would “handle the coaching duties Friday” when the Tigers travel to Florala.
The Elba superintendent added, “I will not rush to judgment on anything. (I will do my) due diligence.”
Mosley, speaking Tuesday night, said the Elba City School Board has not been called for a meeting on the matter and the administrative leave action was taken by him. He added no special called meeting had been established and that the next scheduled meeting is the regular October meeting.
Mosley did confirm that he informed members at a previously scheduled Elba Booster Club meeting of his action to avoid the booster club president having to deal with the issue.
“The Booster Club president called me and he really needed to really keep that meeting because of some upcoming events and I didn’t want the booster club president getting slammed with questions they can’t or don’t have anything to do or answers to, so I went and addressed the people to let them know he is on administrative leave from the program at this time,” Mosley said.
Harrison is in his second year at Elba and has guided the program to an 11-4 record, including 3-1 this season. The Tigers went 8-3 and advanced to the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs in Harrison’s first season last year.
Prior to coming to Elba, Harrison, a New Brockton native, had a highly successful run at Dale County, guiding the Warriors to a 46-24 record over seven seasons, including a Class 3A state runner-up finish in 2014. That team featured a host of talented players, including Mr. Football runner-up Jamarius Henderson, who played briefly at the University of Memphis and at Troy University.