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Story Archives: Hoffpauir not allowed to coach
|Hoffpauir not allowed to coach|
Johnny Lee Hoffpauir was hoping for one more year as head coach of the Vidalia High baseball team after re-starting the program up in 1979.
But after retiring from teaching in July to accept the job of recreation director for the City of Vidalia, Hoffpauir was told Thursday he would not be able to coach one more year because he was not a member of the Vidalia High faculty.
"This is certainly not the way I wanted my career to end," Hoffpauir said. "Unfortunately, it's out of my hands. When I retired from teaching, I didn't retire from coaching. I requested to coach another year. When I sat down with the principal (Vidalia High principal Rick Brown), I told him my biggest fear is that it would not be accepted, despite the recommendations of the principal and superintendent (Loretta Blankenstein)."
The School Board voted 5-2 against Hoffpauir staying on another year.
Deanie Collier and Martha Rabb voted for Hoffpauir to have another year, while Raymond Riley, Fred Butcher, Mary Campbell, Daryl Price and Darlene Baker voted against Hoffpauir coaching this season. Gary Parnham abstained and Ronnie Bradford was absent.
"I think I just got caught up in some personal issues and in some cases it was a vendetta," Hoffpauir said. "I think it's a shame that some people use their political position and personal grievances against the kids. I am really concerned about the direction of our school board in that they don't have the best interests of the kids at heart."
Hoffpauir was given permission to coach one more year from city of Vidalia officials.
"We want to continue to support and work with our school system to enhance our recreation and athletic programs," said Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland.
Hoffpauir, who graduated from Vidalia in 1970, won 478 games and lead the Vikings to a state championship in 1996, sending several players on to the next level.
He played baseball at Louisiana-Monroe where he received a B.S. Degree in 1974.
He then began teaching at Vidalia Junior High in 1975 and served as football coach.
Hoffpauir taught Social Studies and American History at Vidalia.
His wife, Pam, teaches at Vidalia Lower. His son Josh is head baseball coach at Pearl River Community College. Josh and Kara have one son, Zach, who is two. They are also expecting a second child around Christmas.
Johnny Lee and Pam's youngest son, Jarrett, is a member of the San Diego Padres. Jarrett and his wife Molly are expecting their first child around New Year's Day.
Hoffpauir is now in the process of helping build a new baseball park for the high school.
"The Hoffpauirs have been good ambassadors for this town," Hoffpauir said. "We have fond memories of that field. I know Pam has worked hard up there doing all kind of work behind the scenes. I wanted one more year to close out that field and I also wanted one more year with a group of players who helped me so much get through a difficult time when my mother passed away two years ago. I just hope they get a true baseball person to carry that program along. Vidalia baseball has done a whole lot of Vidalia High School through the years. And I also want to thank my assistant coaches - Jerry Matthews, Tim Herndon, who was with me for 16 years, Jerry Roberts, Chuck DeWeese and Josh Bennett."
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