Rush Propst, the fiery head coach of the Hoover High School football team featured on MTV’s “Two-A-Days: Hoover High,” announced on Tuesday that he will resign at season’s end, amid controversy both on and off the field.
Propst has been at the center of a maelstrom in recent months, after a Hoover City Board of Education investigation found evidence of a laundry list of misdoings, including grade-changing and preferential treatment for some football players, questionable finances and the fact that the married coach had an affair and supported a second family in another town.
The coaching staff was also accused of spying on one of Hoover’s rivals, Vestavia Hills, and of using an ineligible player in four games this season — including one against another of Hoover’s rivals, Spain Park — leading the Alabama High School Athletic Association to rule that the school must forfeit those games.
In an emotional, 45-minute speech before the school board, Propst denied that he was directly responsible for any wrongdoing, though he did accept full responsibility as the head coach. He did admit to having an affair but denied that he had ever been involved with any school administrators, as some reports had suggested.
“I had an affair. I want that out there. I did,” Propst said. “The affair is wrong; I don’t condone it. I made a personal decision that was wrong. And there’s a child because of it. Criticize me for having an affair, be judgmental, but I won’t let that child later read that he was a mistake, ’cause I’m going to do the right things.”
Propst said he had informed his team — who despite the forfeited games are still very much in the hunt for a sixth state championship under his tenure — that he decided to resign to relieve the “pressure” that has engulfed not just the Hoover football team, but also the faculty at the high school and the community itself.
“I’ve made some mistakes, and I accept responsibility for what’s happened. I apologize to you the fans, to my assistant coaches, my players, future and present, this community and to this board,” he said, fighting back tears. “I felt like today it was time to take pressure off them and get it out into the open. I just feel like our school needed some relief. We have a tremendous faculty, we do. … I felt like it was time to bring closure to this thing.”
The Hoover City school board voted unanimously to accept Propst’s resignation, though as part of an agreement, he will remain as the Hoover coach until the season’s end and then will be transferred to another position. On August 31, he will resign his employment with the Hoover Board of Education.
“Coach Propst has accomplished much that we are proud of during his nine years at Hoover High School, and I thank him for those accomplishments,” Hoover City School Superintendent Andy Craig said in a statement he read before the board. “At the same time, it’s time for a new beginning at Hoover High School, for the football program, for the educational program, for the administrative team. With this settlement, I think we will take a big step in that direction.”
Propst has compiled a 108-15 record since being hired as Hoover’s head football coach in 1999, and during his speech — which he gave in full Hoover gear, since he had just arrived from practice — he spoke about his accomplishments and expressed his desire to coach again.
“I am remorseful for what I’ve done,” he said. “I have failed you as a community; I have failed you at the board, but I feel very proud of the accomplishments we’ve had here, and this community has been a huge part of this football team’s success. I’m a tough person. This will be another chapter in my coaching career. I fully expect to coach again. This has been an awesome experience. We’ve been able to do a lot of positive things here. … We’ve been able to do things that no other program has done, and we’ve done it the right way.”