(Story will be updated as more information is revealed.)
Chad Grabowski has apparently been relieved of his duties as the head football coach at Red Bank, despite having led the Lions to the state playoffs in all four years on the job.
Red Bank principal Elaine Harper and assistant principals Monica Gordon and Wendell Weathers met with Grabowski on Friday to inform him of their decision.
Harper offered a brief press release on Monday and this is what it said:
“In a meeting with Coach Grabowski on Friday, we communicated with him that we have decided to make a change in our head football coaching position. We appreciate everything Coach Grabowski has done for the Red Bank High school football program, but we feel it is in the best interest of the program and Red Bank High to make a change at this time.”
Weathers answered his cell phone Monday morning, but offered very little information about this change or any reason leading up to it.
“I’m not at liberty at this time to provide any more information than has already been provided,” he said in a terse response to the question of what exactly led to this decision.
Grabowski is a 41-year-old gentleman who has been the Red Bank coach for the past four years. He had been a head football coach for five seasons in Central Florida before coming to Red Bank.
During that time, the Lions advanced to the playoffs all four years and just this past fall, made it to the semifinal round before losing to eventual state champion Alcoa. Red Bank was 11-3 before that loss to Alcoa.
In 2014, the Lions had a 7-5 record overall and 5-1 in region play before losing to McMinn Central in the second round of the playoffs.
In 2015, Red Bank had its only losing season under Grabowski when the Lions finished 3-8 overall and 2-3 in the region before losing to Upperman in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Lions were 8-4 overall in 2016 with a perfect 5-0 region mark before losing to East Ridge in the second round of the playoffs.
Grabowski returned a phone message earlier today concerning his firing. He’s brought back more interest to this team in recent years and has taken deep personal interest in his players, both as athletes as well as maturing young men. He was equally as shocked as anyone when Harper delivered the news.
“It seems like this situation has been developing since the school year began, but it’s a total shock to me as I’ve done nothing wrong,” he expressed in a soft tone.
“I love these kids as if they’re my own and really felt like our program was heading in the right direction, but if they don’t want me as their coach, I’ll move on and find another job.
“I’m really sad to be leaving Red Bank as it’s a nice area. We wanted to raise our kids in Chattanooga and this is where I am hoping to retire, but I guess it won’t be at Red Bank,” he added.
Apparently, Mandi Munn was not involved in this decision, even though she is the Red Bank athletic director.
"I talked to Mandi on Friday and she knew nothing about this. She was just as shocked as everyone else," Grabowski explained.
Three messages were left for Harper during school hours on Monday, but no calls have been returned.
Munn wasn't involved in Friday's meeting and apparently, not involved in the decision to fire the coach either.
"My job has been to talk to parents and players, but I'm not free to discuss this situation with members of the media," Munn said late Monday afternoon.
Grabowski had three winning seasons in his four years and leaves the Lions program with a 29-20 record. He remains on staff as a physical education teacher.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)