Deeming his actions as “inappropriate and not in keeping with expectations for employees,” a recent letter from Horry County School Superintendent Rick Maxey to Chuck Jordan gives insights into why he chose to keep the longtime Conway football coach on administrative leave with pay.
Jordan, 60, has been on administrative leave with pay since late May, when he was in an on-campus altercation with 17-year-old Ka’Brian Hickman. Both were charged in the incident—Jordan with third-degree assault and battery, Hickman with disturbing schools.
Charges were dismissed against both on Aug. 3.
Though in the clear legally, the Conway coach was not afforded the same luxury with Horry County Schools. On the same day he would have started his 35th year as coach of the Tigers, the school board told Jordan he would remain on administrative leave with pay until his contract ends on Nov. 31.
According to Maxey, the motive for his decision involved inconsistencies in Jordan’s story, not seeking assistance from a school resource officer, and the determination he “exercised unnecessary and excessive physical measures with (Hickman) after he was restrained by another employee.”
“The surveillance video clearly shows you placing your hand around the student’s neck/throat area with what I consider to be a forceful grip while the student was restrained,” Maxey’s letter said. “While you stated you ‘don’t recall putting your hands’ on the student, you acknowledged that the surveillance video ‘doesn’t look good.’
“You also stated that ‘Yes, I was angry,’ and that you ‘don’t remember putting your hands’ on the student. Your failure to recollect making contact with the student further reinforces to me that you were angry, likely to a degree that you were unable to fully recall your actions.”
Maxey’s letter also states he could have recommended for Jordan’s immediate termination based on district policies, citing his “use of force” toward Hickman as “both unreasonable and unnecessary.”
“I understand that the criminal justice system decided not to prosecute you for a crime related to your actions, but as I explained to you, (Horry County Schools) has standards for employee conduct that differ from what may amount to a violation of state law,” Maxey said. “I could have recommended your immediate termination. However, in light of your tenure with the district, I decided to allow you to remain on administrative leave for the remainder of your contract, during which time you will continue to be paid full salary and benefits, including any supplements.”
Despite being on administrative leave with pay, Jordan will be allowed to attend Conway High football games as a spectator, provided he does not attempt to “insert” himself into action transpiring on the field of play.
Attempts to reach Jordan were unsuccessful. His attorney, Tommy Brittain, did relay that the longtime football coach disputes how a judgment was made on the matter.