Coach quits for 'good of school'
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 12:00 AM
Doyle Wolverton, who coached girls basketball at Leake Academy for 39 years, said his abrupt resignation on Monday was "for the betterment of the school and all parties involved," thanking players past and present.
Wolverton, the second winningest girls basketball coach in the nation, resigned in the wake of allegations he bit a player during a game last week.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Leake Academy Board of Directors, headmaster, coaches and the Leake Academy family for the many years of support and kindness that they have shown," Wolverton said in a written statement delivered to the Democrat on Tuesday by the president of the school's board.
"I also want to thank the many players, present and past, which I have been fortunate enough to coach in my career. For the betterment of the school and all parties involved, I have turned in my resignation to Leake Academy. I wish all the players and the school the best and thank them again for the 39 years that I had at Leake Academy."
Headmaster Jerry Crowe said the school is moving forward.
"We are saddened by the departure of Coach Wolverton who has been an integral part of the success of Leake Academy's girls basketball program," Crowe said. "However, at this juncture, we have accepted his resignation and are moving forward."
Men's coach Phil Shepard, will serve as the interim girls coach.
Because this is a personnel matter, no further comment will be made, Crowe said.
No charges have been filed in connection with the incident.
Wolverton had been placed on administrative leave Thursday after allegedly biting a player during a game and did not coach Saturday's game against Sylva-Bay, School Board President Greg Nowell of Philadelphia said Monday evening.
"It was very emotional for me," said Nowell, whose daughter played for Wolverton. "I was there when he signed the letter. We had our regular school meeting Monday night and this was going to be discussed then."
Coach Wolverton was not at the meeting.
Nowell said that a search would begin to find a new girls coach.
Earlier on Monday, the allegations he bit a player in the face during a game on Tuesday, Nov. 12 in Marion County were confirmed by Leake County Sheriff Greg Waggoner.
Waggoner said his office became involved when the player was brought into the emergency room of the hospital in Carthage by her father.
"The ER was required to call the Sheriff's office because it was described as an assault," Waggoner said. "The deputies took a report."
According to the incident report, the victim told a Leake County Sheriff's deputy that "she was standing in the huddle with the other teammates listening to Coach Wolverton when he grabbed her by the shirt and then bit her on the right side of her face."
Her father told authorities that, while the team was in a huddle, he observed Coach Wolverton grab his daughter "by the shirt and put his face very close to the victim's face, as if he was getting on to her for making a bad play," the incident report said.
After the game, the victim told her father "that she had been bitten."
Deputies observed a bruised bite mark on the lower right side of the victim's face, the incident report said.
"Coach Wolverton has resigned. The family told me they don't want to pursue any criminal charges."
"As a parent and a former player, it is a shame for him to go out this way," said Deanna Jones. "I wish it could have been handled in a more amicable way."
Anna Katherine Nowell, a former player and 2013 LA graduate, agreed.
"The relationship I have built with him and what he has built with all of his players is phenomenal," she said. "He always told us that he would give us a kidney if we needed it. I believe to this day, if I called him and needed something, he would drop whatever he was doing and come help me. After 39 awesome years that he had here, I just hated to see him go out that way."