A longtime high school football coach in Central Florida is stepping down instead of taking a year-long suspension after an altercation with a student on campus.
NBC affiliate WFLA-TV reports Charlie Tate Jr., the football coach at Winter Haven High School in Polk County, announced his resignation after the family of a 15-year-old student at the school contacted the station after learning from the school's principal that an altercation between their son and Tate turned physical.
“In today’s society, I should not have done that,” Tate said in an interview with the station at his home. “Would I do that same thing to my son, yes I would.”
The teen said Tate, who has coached for over 40 years at schools in both Polk County and in Panama City, put his hands on his neck before pushing him back on a field. Tate denied the allegations.
“I never put my hands around his neck,” he said. “I grabbed his sweatshirt and my hands were (on his shirt). It was the second time we touched. I was nervous. I’m not a young person to take on a teenager I might get my fanny whipped.”
The teen's parents are pressing charges.
“No child should have to go through someone grabbing them when you have officers at school,” Rishon’s father Ricky Johnson said. “That’s where you’re supposed to be protected – at school.”
Tate lost his job in 2018 after being accused of pushing a shopping cart into a student, but was later reinstated. Polk County Public Schools issued a statement saying they were conducting an internal review.
Tate is the son of former Miami Hurricanes head football coach Charlie Tate Sr., who coached at UM from 1964 to 1970 and spent several seasons before that as the head coach at Miami High School.
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