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Lexington school names interim coach as documents describe possible origin of investigation

Frederick Douglass High School has installed an interim head coach for its varsity volleyball team for the remainder of the 2023 season as the investigation into the circumstances of the team’s two forfeits last month continues and two documents released by Fayette County Public Schools this week shed light on the episode.

Both Douglass head coach Christina Coleman and assistant coach Olivia Carter have been removed from the official Douglass volleyball roster listed on the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s website. Carter’s status as head coach of the junior varsity team also appears to be in limbo as she is no longer listed on the JV roster, a circumstance that changed this week.

But FCPS would not comment about either coach’s status, repeating the district’s policy about not discussing personnel issues. Both were in place as team coaches when an FCPS internal investigation into a “team issue” began on Aug. 28

Neither Coleman nor Carter could be reached for comment Thursday.

Two documents received by the Herald-Leader from FCPS under the Kentucky Open Records Act offer some clues to the controversy’s origin. Both center on a postgame incident after Douglass’s win at Tates Creek High School on Aug. 24.

A letter written by Tates Creek coach Morgan Contino to her athletic director, Larry Poynter, that evening and a Fayette County Public School Police report filed by Carter the next day both describe a confrontation between Coleman and Carter and between Coleman and parents after Coleman’s meeting in the locker room with players.

Carter acknowledged recording Coleman’s postgame talk because, according to the police report, “Coleman began to yell at the entire team in a manner that Carter felt was inappropriate.” Carter’s statement to the police also said Coleman berated players during pregame warm-ups and during the match.

At some point after Coleman and Carter emerged from the postgame locker room and Coleman began to be confronted by parents, Carter told police that “Coleman turned her anger toward Carter, stepping toward Carter, yelling at her, saying that she was a ‘snitch, snake, rat and backstabber’ and told Carter that she had ‘... better watch (her) back!’” according to the police report.

According to Contino’s account of the events and the police report, Contino escorted Carter to Tates Creek’s concession stand and they locked themselves in to get away from the confrontation.

In her letter to her athletic director, Contino described Frederick Douglass’s volleyball parents as upset during the time Douglass’s coaches and the team were still in the locker room. Contino stated that after Coleman and Carter exited the locker room “several parents informed Coach Coleman that their daughters would no longer be playing for Coach Coleman.”

Both Contino’s letter and the police report describe the confrontation continuing in the parking lot for some time after all parties left the school.

Carter did not file any charges after speaking by phone with FCPS Police at Tates Creek on Aug. 25, according to the police report.

FCPS spokeswoman Dia Davidson-Smith declined to comment on the contents of the Contino letter or police report.

On Thursday, Davidson-Smith did confirm that former Georgetown College volleyball coach Nick Griffin has been named the interim coach for the Broncos “for the rest of the 2023-24 season.” His first game was scheduled to be a home game against Great Crossing on Thursday night.

Griffin led the Tigers from 2009 to 2017, a stint that included six conference championships for the NAIA program and two conference coach of the year awards.

Coincidentally, Griffin’s successor at Georgetown College was Christina Coleman. Coleman served as the Georgetown College coach for one season.