Coach is safe from firing

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Lakeside High School's athletic director and football coach Jody Grooms will not be fired, Lakeside principal Dr. Jeff Carney said Thursday morning.

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Grooms

Grooms is under scrutiny after his team ran an illegal play on its final possession of a game last Friday at Effingham County. Carney said Grooms will be punished for the offense but would not lose his job. He would not specify the punishment.

"I'm not out to fire Jody," he said. "He made a poor decision, but this is so out of character for him. I have total faith in him that nothing like this will ever happen again."

Carney said he faxed a written report of the incident to the Georgia High School Association on Tuesday. Dennis Payne, the GHSA's associate director and administrator for football, said Wednesday he will make a recommendation after reviewing the report.

GHSA executive director Ralph Swearngin said he will not comment or make a decision on the incident until today at the earliest.

Lakeside's football team went 3-7 this year in Grooms' first season as head coach and athletic director. Payne said he couldn't recall any similar incident occuring in the GHSA in recent years.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 863-6165 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.

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