By CHRISSY SMITH
Tammany West Sports
COVINGTON – Covington High School head football coach Malter Scobel was fired by newly-hired Principal Roslyn Hanson on Tuesday despite finishing with a 6-4 record last year, and making the playoffs four of the last five years.
Last season the Lions had a 20-seed going into the playoffs, and lost in the first round to Mandeville, 31-0. In 2011, CHS made the postseason as a 14 seed; in 2010 as a 32 seed; and in 2008 as a 28 seed. The Lions never made it out of the first round of the playoffs.
“We appreciate his hard work for our students at Covington High School football. I know he’s been a hard worker, but we just decided to go in a different direction,” new Covington Principal Roslyn Hanson said, who was hired in April and is heading into her first year as the Covington principal. “I’m not at liberty to discuss personnel, and this is just a decision to go in a new direction with a new coach.”
Hanson is coming from?William Pitcher Jr. High School where she was principal.
Scobel said he was informed on Monday that he needed to meet with Hanson at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
“Since I’ve been at Covington, there’s been a certain group that’s tried to get me out. The previous principal was supportive of me, and she said the job I was doing didn’t deserve to be terminated. There have been rumors flying around about Hanson coming in and cleaning house. I took it to heart because I knew if an alumni of Covington was coming in, that I might be fired for no other reason than I’m not from there,” Scobel said.
The five-year head coach, who is from the West Bank and went to Shaw, said he called Hanson last week to congratulate her on her new job. He also asked to meet with her to talk about the football program. Scobel said that when he met with her, she said she was going to “go through evaluations and talk to people.”
“I don’t know what a week will change, but she never saw the day-to-day activity of what we do with the kids,” Scobel said. “She had her reasons, and her only explanation was that she wanted to go in a different direction with different leadership. Based on what I’ve gotten from the kids and parents, they are very devastated. I feel terrible for the kids. Especially the seniors, they’ve worked so hard. This was going to be their year. We legitimately had a very good team coming back, and had a chance to make a lot of noise. It’s been pulled from under their feet. I don’t understand it.”
Hanson said the school will begin the process of hiring a new coach.
“I met with the athletic director and administration staff, and the athletic director told the team. I know the parents are concerned, so we want to make sure they feel comfortable,” Hanson said.
Scobel believes he did all he could for the program.
“Have we achieved every goal? No. But we’ve always been a competitive team and reached a lot of milestones. Kids are going to college and playing football, and we’ve done a lot for the program. I say ‘we’ because it’s me and my coaching staff,” Scobel said. “She’s based her decision on what people have told her, and I’m not 100 percent positive, but it’s more than likely from people who don’t like me.”
Scobel said he will decide what to do from here.
“I’ll talk to my wife, and we’ll come up with a plan. I live in Covington, and I’m not moving. They can take my job, but not change my life,” Scobel said.