Principal: Donald Poole removed as Dougherty AD for playing ineligible players

Donald Poole was removed as AD last Thursday

ALBANY — In a letter obtained by The Herald, Dougherty High Principal Robert McIntosh alleges that athletic director Donald Poole violated GHSA By-Laws by allowing ineligible players to compete, resulting in Poole’s termination as athletic director late last week.

Poole, who was given the termination letter Thursday afternoon, will remain as Dougherty’s boys basketball coach for the remainder of the season, but his 11-year tenure as AD was immediately put to an end.

“Based upon our discussions and my review of athletics at DCHS, I am not satisfied with the current state of affairs within our athletic department,” McIntosh wrote in the letter, which was addressed to Poole. “Most specifically, your admission of practicing and playing students without having physicals on file places our school system in significant jeopardy, and is in violation of GHSA By-Laws. You also admitted to allowing students to practice and play before their eligibility had been approved by GHSA.”

McIntosh goes on to state in the letter that the “actions will result in significant fines being levied by GHSA against our school.”

On Wednesday, McIntosh told The Herald that Dougherty “is not under investigation by the GHSA for this situation,” but stated that “there are penalties. If you go through the GHSA By-Laws, there are penalties for certain actions.”

By-Law 2.32 in the GHSA Constitution states that if one or more students competes before the filing of an eligibility report then the GHSA Executive Director can impose the following penalties:

— a fine per game or contest in which one or more participants had no eligibility report filed.

— forfeiture of any game in which one or more participants did not have eligibility report filed.

— restriction from competition in any sport if the fines assessed are not paid within ten (10) days of notification.

“I can’t talk about the specifics of a personnel matter, but we are going to follow GHSA By-Laws and abide by those as long as I am principal,” said McIntosh, who wouldn’t comment about which sport was in violation of the By-Laws or if the school had paid any fines.

Poole was contacted by The Herald on Tuesday but declined to comment on the situation.

The letter also specifies that McIntosh sought the help of Dougherty County School System central office administrators — including administrative assistant Jack Willis, HR director Farrell Young and finance and operations director Kenneth Dyer — in investigating the matter.

Jerome Register was named the interim AD for the remainder of the season, and he told The Herald on Tuesday that he will be putting an emphasis on academics.

“It’s all about the students,” Register said. “I understand what winning is all about, and I want to provide an opportunity for the kids to have winning programs and coaches who can help them be the best they can be as a student athlete. But it’s student first and then athlete.

“I want to give young people an opportunity to be successful on the athletic field and in the classroom.”