Sports

Students Say High School Football Coach Threatened To Hang Black Players In Trees By Their Toes

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Former Centennial High School assistant football coach Todd Campbell repeatedly made racist comments to members of the team, even going as far as to tell black players he would hang them from a tree by their toes if they didn’t listen to him.

“You need to be quiet. You see that rope over there, you see that tree back there, I’m going to hang you in that tree. I’m going to hang you by your toes,” Campbell said, according to documents released to the Dallas Morning News by the Frisco school district.

Campbell was placed on administrative leave in November, soon after an official complaint was filed, and he resigned from his position as of February 29.

“Students said coach Todd Campbell also stereotyped black students by claiming that they must run fast because they were eating fried chicken or drinking Kool-Aid. He would also say ‘esé,’ a Spanish slang term for ‘homeboy,’ around Latino students and use the term ‘cracker,'” Eva-Marie Ayala reported. “The coach also had four students pose and then pulled up a picture of the R&B group New Edition and compared them.”

Students and parents reportedly told former head coach Ronny Mullins, who is now the athletic coordinator and head football coach at MacArthur High School, and principal Randy Spain their concerns about Campbell before going to district officials, but no disciplinary action was taken.

The official findings of the completed investigation have not been released, but a spokeswoman told the Morning News that nobody was disciplined and “Mullins and Spain acted appropriately in handling the situation.”

Mullins has not commented since the report became public, but has previously expressed that he felt he handled the concerns about Campbell properly. “An apology was made by the coach in regard to saying something that offended the athlete (and the apology was accepted); I appropriately handled [the issue] with the coach in our separate meeting as well,” he wrote.

During the investigation, Campbell called all of these allegations “false.”

However, superintendent Jeremy Lyon sent an email to the staff where he “noted that the allegations by the players proved to be valid,” and expressed a desire for the school and district to improve “in regards to our sensitivity, awareness and response to racial issues.”

The Frisco school district is predominately white, and there is even less diversity among teachers — 10 percent of its students are black, compared to only four percent of teachers.