Former Brentwood track coach speaks out - WSMV Channel 4

Former Brentwood track coach speaks out: 'The clock makes the decision who is on a team'

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Former Brentwood volunteer cross country coach Guy Avery. (WSMV) Former Brentwood volunteer cross country coach Guy Avery. (WSMV)

A former Brentwood High School volunteer track coach says he never accepted money from parents to give their child an edge on the varsity track team.

Guy Avery says one disgruntled parent sparked the investigation that got him banned from Williamson County Schools.

Avery, a private coach who earns a living training kids several times a week for a monthly fee, says the conversation happened during a national championship meet when he wouldn't put the parent's son, whom he also trained privately, on the sprint leg of a distance relay.

"He was saying, 'I'm a client. You should have my son on that relay.' And I said, 'Well no, he hasn't earned it.' And that got him upset," Avery explained.

"Then he made threats to the school and alleged I was a pay for play coach, meaning you pay me and you get what you want," Avery said.

Director of Schools Mike Looney addressed the investigation in a news conference last week.

Avery says he was never interviewed as part of the investigation.

"They produced an investigation without asking me one question, Avery said. "And I was the subject of the investigation."

"You don’t win 5 state championships in 6 years and be a national championship team doing favors for parents," said Avery. "Absolutely no way. And there is nobody who would say that other than vindictive people.”

“The clock makes the decision on who is on a team. The finishing place makes the decision. It’s very clear and very obvious."

In the news conference, Looney mentioned a particular email as evidence he coerced parents to pay him fees. 

"When I read in an email, 'if you don't have the money to pay me, give me your car,' I'd say you're forcing people to pay you," said Looney.

Avery says the email was a humorous text exchange "taken completely out of context." 

"He's a man with a high degree of integrity, which is what makes this thing so preposterous," said Michael Sandifer, whose son is coached by Avery. 

"We know who this parent is who didn't get what he wanted. And when he didn't get what he wanted, he set out to destroy Guy Avery's reputation," Sandifer added.

According to the investigation, Avery broke TSSAA and school rules when he ran camps and coached kids on school grounds "for personal gain".

Avery says any rules he allegedly broke were never even communicated to him in the first place. 

"I was given permission and encouraged to use the Brentwood track by the athletic director and head track coach, who is the same person," Avery added. "Everything about those two rules that were cited, nobody knows those rules."

"It's their duty to disclose those policies to him," Sandifer insisted.

Avery says it's common practice for private coaches like him to use the school track to train kids and that he never received a penny from Brentwood High School or Williamson County Schools while he was a private coach.

He says several of the kids he trains have left the school team as a show of support.

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