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SCA track & field team in limbo after Baxley's arrest

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- When Sherwood Christian Academy athletic director Alan McWilliams walked into the school's regularly scheduled teacher's meeting this week, he could tell there was about to be an announcement of some kind.

He also knew it wasn't going to be good.

"We knew something was up right away," said McWilliams, who is also the school's baseball coach. "But we had no clue (it would be something like this)."

The news delivered by SCA headmaster Glen Schultz was chilling: Shawn Baxley, the school's JV football and basketball coach, and varsity boys and girls track & field coach, had been arrested and charged with one count of child molestation.

"We were all stunned," McWilliams said.

What this means for the Sherwood track & field season -- which was scheduled to begin Wednesday in a meet with Westwood, though that meet was canceled Wednesday morning -- isn't entirely clear. McWilliams said that for the time being -- in an effort to get the kids off and running, so to speak -- the program will be coached by committee. McWilliams added that current cross-country coach Mark Meagher, whose daughter, Katie, won the Class AA state title in the 3,200 last year and was runner-up in the 1,600, and John Cannady, the father of SCA's other state champ in 2009, Stephen Cannaday (high jump), will be handling all duties until a permanent solution can be worked out.

"(Mark and John) both have full-time jobs and can't promise to be out there every day, so we're getting help from parents, and my wife is even helping some," McWilliams said.

Baxley, who had worked for Sherwood for three years and also taught geometry at the secondary level, was entering his second season as track & field coach.

McWilliams said the mood around the track & field team since the news broke was fairly universal.

"The kids are expecting to have another pretty good season," McWilliams began, "and right now everyone just wants to move ahead."

After Wednesday's cancellation, the SCA track & field team's season opener will be March 10 against Mount de Sales in Macon

Baxley was arrested Monday and was arraigned Tuesday morning at the Dougherty County Jail on the charge, which stemmed from a 2008 incident, police said. Baxley was denied bond pending a hearing.

Sheriff's officials said that they are checking with schools in Florida and Alabama where Baxley previously worked to determine if there is any history of similar complaints.