While his immediate future has been decided, the fate of longtime Conway football coach Chuck Jordan may be far from sealed.
In the aftermath of Friday’s decision by Horry County Schools to keep Jordan on administrative leave with pay until the end of his contract in November, his legal counsel is looking into its options in the hope of him returning to his daily duties at Conway High.
“(Jordan) is surprised and confused, just like me. Shocked may be a better word,” said Jordan’s attorney, Tommy Brittain. “We felt that since the experienced people had made a clear decision of there being no wrongdoing, that would be the end of it. But I guess I was wrong.”
Jordan, 60, has been on administrative leave with pay since late May, when he was involved in an on-campus altercation with 17-year-old Ka’Brian Hickman. A few weeks later, Jordan and Hickman were both arrested in connection with their alleged roles in the incident, charged with third-degree assault and battery and disturbing schools, respectively.
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There is an inherent responsibility to protect teachers. I’m concerned about every coach and teacher and the message this sends.
Tommy Brittain, attorney for longtime Conway football coach Chuck Jordan
Charges against both parties were dropped on Aug. 3. A decision by Horry County Schools was not as forthcoming, however, as it chose to wait until the day of Conway’s season opener against Georgetown to confirm its plan of action.
“I’m not at all angry about when (a decision was made by Horry County Schools),” Brittain said. “We were mainly wanting a decision before the first game, which we got. But in my opinion, the decision should have been obvious. Eventually they had to come to one.”
On Friday, the Tigers took the field without Jordan as their head coach for the first time since 1983. His 278 wins are eighth-most among all high school coaches in the Palmetto State.
Longtime assistant Carlton Terry was at the helm and led Conway to a 40-8 win over Georgetown.
Brittain said he and Jordan were to meet last weekend and discuss what action – if any – to take in regard to the matter.
According to Horry County School Board chairman Joe DeFeo, Jordan can appeal the decision before school trustees who can uphold the district’s decision or possibly alter it. Should his status remain as it currently is, the longtime Conway football coach will be paid his annual salary of more than $93,000 in addition to supplements from the Teacher & Employee Retention Incentive (TERI) program.
Along with being disappointed, Brittain said he is concerned about the message it sends to all walking school halls.
“There is an inherent responsibility to protect teachers,” he said. “I’m concerned about every coach and teacher and the message this sends.”