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Controversial suspension of Tennessee coach is overturned days before state title game

Cameron Smith
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Ensworth football coach Ricky Bowers will get to coach in his team's state title game after all — Lipscomb Sports

Ensworth football coach Ricky Bowers will get to coach in his team's state title game after all — Lipscomb Spo …

The surprising and controversial suspension of a well-respected Tennessee prep football coach has been overturned just in time for him to lead his team in the state title game.

As reported by the Tennessean, Ensworth High (Nashville) football coach Ricky Bowers was reinstated for his team's Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Division II-AA title game when the TSSAA officials, "approved an appeal of the suspension due to misapplication of a National Federation of State High School Associations rule about an official's jurisdiction."

In other words, TSSAA officials said the referee got the situation wrong because he didn’t have a right to eject Bowers after he already declared the game was over.

In addition to Bowers’ suspension, TSSAA officials also upheld the appeal of a suspension handed out to Ensworth assistant Paul Wade, who was also given a one-game ban for his actions following Ensworth’s semifinal victory against rival Brentwood Academy.

"[Video of the end of the semifinal game] clearly shows that when both coaches were ejected that the official had called the game prior to that, and the official’s jurisdiction had ended," TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress told the Tennessean.

For their part, both Bowers and Wade insist that they never made contact with game referee Michael Lloyd, another allegation against the two that was cited in Lloyd’s postgame report.

While there was no official ruling on that charge, there’s little question which party came out on top in the eyes of the TSSAA: Bowers and Wade will both be coaching for a state championship on Thursday. Lloyd has been sanctioned and will not work any more games until the 2014 season.

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Cameron Smith is the editor of Prep Rally on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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