Loudoun Valley head football coach sacked
School administration officials have yet to comment on the reason for his dismissal.
The move comes in the wake of the school's controversial decision against installing impact sensors on football and lacrosse players' helmets.
“He [Coach McGrath] is no longer the head coach of the Loudoun Valley football program,” said Wayde Byard, public information officer for Loudoun County Public Schools. “Both LCPS and Mr. McGrath are in the safety business. We would never punish [a teacher or coach] for advocating child safety.”
Parents aren't so sure. In a meeting held Sept. 1 involving parents and members of the Loudoun Parent Teacher Association, they called for McGrath's reinstatement as head coach.
“The Loudoun Valley community is outraged over the dismissal of Coach McGrath, and we demand his immediate reinstatement,” said parents in a statement released Sept. 1. “We support our players and the entire coaching staff and call for a complete independent investigation.”
In the past year, McGrath had been pushing for three specific safety changes on Loudoun Valley's football field.
First, that the team should play within its own classification, playing schools whose ability matched that of the home players.
Second, adding rest time for junior varsity players to avoid injuries.
And third, the now infamous issue of the installation of helmet sensors.
Suspicion over his removal from the position of coach comes from past allegations of teachers and staff being bullied by the high school's administration, according to Dee Howard, a Loudoun Valley parent.
And with the helmet sensors affair still fresh, parents see McGrath's removal as far from coincidental.
“It was stated, there've been many articles on it, that teachers have been bullied by Loudoun Valley administration,” said Howard. “With Coach McGrath and issues he'd been working on with safety for almost a year now, it was definitely evident that there were issues with Loudoun Valley administration and his views.”
McGrath will remain the physical education teacher at the high school. He will continue to receive his coaching stipend, and Howard said his removal as head coach won't appear in his personnel file.
Practice will continue as usual on Mondays.
Currently, the position of head coach is open for hire.
“We're currently seeking an active head coach,” said Byard. “We'll let parents know in the coming days who the head coach is.”