Warren County officials press for GBI investigation into coach attack



As Warren County High School head football coach David Daniel continues to recover after being attacked after a game Friday night, the Warren County schools’ administration remains adamant about getting the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to examine the entire incident.

District Superintendent Carole Jean Carey said a Warren County Board of Education attorney has stepped in and prepared a letter on behalf of the board, the mayor, state Sen. Bill Jackson and herself to send to officials who can ask the GBI to step in, including the Superior Court judge with jurisdiction. John Bankhead of the GBI confirmed Tuesday his agency isn’t yet involved.

Investigator Ricky Brown of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department said his agency is looking into the case and the interview process isn’t completed.

He said possible charges could be battery or aggravated assault, if there’s “enough evidence to pursue.”

Daniel was seriously hurt after Friday night’s 21-2 win at Hancock Central, which was when Carey said Daniel was attacked by an opposing player who used a helmet as a weapon. Daniel’s injuries required reconstructive surgery on his face.

The player has not yet been named.

Ralph Swearngin, the executive director of the Georgia High School Association, confirmed the GHSA has received Warren County’s report on Friday’s incident.

On Monday, Swearngin said he needs reports from both schools and a police report. As for any penalties the GHSA can give out, he made clear the GHSA is waiting on all information.

“Even in the most open kind of situations, you need to get both sides of it,” Swearngin said.

However, when speaking in general terms, he said the GHSA has the power to penalize one or more school teams and can give multiyear penalties. He likened the GHSA to the NCAA in that matter.

Because of the incident, Carey said Warren County won’t be playing Hancock Central in any sport for an indefinite period.

After the investigation is done and before the basketball season begins – Daniel is Warren County’s girls basketball coach — she wants to meet with Swearngin about “what in the world can be done.”

Though Daniel didn’t attend football practice, Carey said the coach worked until late Monday night, looking at game film at his home.

Carey, who spoke with the coach on Tuesday, said the pressure in Daniel’s eye is “going down some.”

Daniel’s wife, Rochelle, said her husband is himself personality-wise. She said many people have given their well-wishes to Daniel. She also said Daniel is on pain medication but is still hurting.

“He’s a wonderful man,” she said. “He’s dedicated his life to students.”

As for the chances of Daniel coaching Friday against Washington-Wilkes, Carey said the focus is still on how Daniel is doing day to day, even though she knows he would be out there if he got his way.

“He would love to be already back,” Carey said. “He wants the team to get focused, be prepared for Friday.”

Warren County coach recovering as inquiry continues