Two New Waverly High School football coaches are on suspension after officials say one put a starter’s pistol to a student’s head and the other threatened to hang him.
School Board President Alton Adams said second-year Coach Larry Spacek and Assistant Coach Steve Ramsey, in his first year, were relieved of their duties with pay.
Although no formal charges have been filed, Walker County sheriff’s deputies are investigating the incident, which allegedly involved a 14-year-old student, Josh Clark, whom the coaches were trying to persuade to improve his grades so he could play football next year.
The student’s mother, Thea Clark filed a formal complaint with the Sheriff’s Department and the local justice of the peace.
She said the coaches told her that they were “just playing around” and meant no harm to her son.
Clark said her son, a New Waverly Middle School student, was in the high school gymnasium Tuesday afternoon when the coaches asked to see him in their office.
“Coach Spacek got to talking with me about my grades, and then Coach Ramsey said he was tired of me,” Josh Clark told the Houston Chronicle.
He said Spacek took an extension cord from his desk and told the student he was going to tie him up.
“Then he told me to look up at the ceiling, that he was going to hang me from there,” the boy said.
When he refused to hold still so his hands could be tied, the boy said, Ramsey told Spacek to wait because he had something better.
Ramsey went to his truck, came back with his hand inside his pocket, then grabbed Josh and held a gun to his temple, the boy said.
“I was hollering,” Josh said. “I thought he was going to shoot me, but Coach Spacek told him not to.”
The boy said Ramsey “clicked” the gun as he lowered it, but he didn’t know if he spun the cylinder or pulled the trigger. Josh said he did not know until later, when his mother went to Davis’ office about the incident, that Ramsey had used a starter’s gun, which is used to start running events in track and fires blanks.
Adams said he was told that the coaches wanted to impress the importance of good grades.
“That’s an odd way to try to impress someone,” he said. “No, it’s worse than that.”