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Franklin football coach requests hearing

Franklin football coach requests hearing

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Franklin head football coach and boys athletics director Rusty Robinson said Tuesday that he is requesting an open hearing on the school board's decision not to renew his contract.

"I feel like my character, my competency, is coming into question," Robinson said. "I'll defend that. You have to stand up for yourself every now and then. You can't just roll over."

The school board voted 7-0 not to renew Robinson's contract at a meeting on Dec. 6. Robinson was given 15 days to request a hearing or to resign.

Franklin superintendent Bret Lowry, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, said last week that he recommended not to renew Robinson's contract in order to make a change in the athletics department. Lowry said the proposed change did not involve finances and was not based solely on Robinson's record as football coach.

Robinson said his lawyer has requested a copy of his personnel records, adding that he has received only positive evaluations as a teacher of U.S. history.

"If it's not about wins and losses, we have a great program," Robinson said. "We treat kids well. Our numbers have improved every year. We try to build and develop character."

According to the board's notice on the decision not to renew Robinson's contract, the hearing will be held within 15 days of receiving his request unless both parties agree to another date. The notice also says the hearing will be closed unless Robinson requests an open hearing.

When Lowry first told Robinson of the board's decision, Robinson said he asked for permission to address the school board in an open session, but Lowry said Robinson had to go through the complaint process.

"All I asked from the get-go was a chance to speak to the board," Robinson said. "I just wanted to discuss with them how we have our coaches split up, how we work with kids, the character-building things we've done, on-the-field or -court performance and numbers in the athletic program. I do think some people's eyes will be opened."

Robinson has an 18-34 record in five seasons as Franklin's football coach. The Lions have made the playoffs once under Robinson, reaching the second round and finishing with a 9-3 record in 2003 when Robinson was voted Brazos Valley coach of the year by his peers.

The Lions were 2-8 this year. They finished 1-6 in District 22-2A.

The school board letter notifying Robinson of its decision said the change would allow the district to return to its previous practice of having the superintendent double as athletics director. Kenner Reinhardt and Robinson, Franklin's two head football coaches spanning the last 21 seasons, served as athletics director.

Lowry said he has no experience in athletic administration but added that athletics director responsibilities are very similar to administrative duties.

Robinson said he asked Lowry twice about his job status before recently moving into a new home near the high school. Lowry denied that he reassured Robinson that his job was OK.

"Now I'm to the point where it seems as though it's getting a little bit personal," Robinson said. "I'm at a loss to figure out what it is that I've done so bad, other than wins and losses."

• Larry Bowen's e-mail address is larry.bowen@theeagle.com.

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