The Spain Park (Ala.) High School football team is just two days away from its season-opening game, a cross-border showdown with Grayson High School in Georgia. Now they're going through their final practices without their head coach.
According to reports from The Birmingham News and ABC 33/40, Spain Park head coach David Shores was placed on paid administrative leave because of a "physical incident" that took place between the coach and one of his players at practice on Tuesday. From The Birmingham News:
"An investigation has taken place, statements were taken, and the preliminary result is that Coach Shores has been placed on paid administrative leave," said [Hoover City Schools spokesman Jason] Gaston. "That's where we stand with things right now."
After a day and a half without a successor in place, Hoover City Schools announced that offensive line coach Ben Berguson would serve as interim head coach of Spain Park for the foreseeable future.
The team's schedule doesn't exactly make the transition easy for Spain Park. The Jaguars, coming off a 10-3 2009 season that ended in the Class 6A quarterfinals, play rival Hoover High (yes, the school of MTV "Two-A-Days" fame), ranked No. 8 in the country by RivalsHigh, in their second game. That's after opening with Grayson, which enters the season as a threat to vault up Georgia state rankings.
Even if Spain Park does survive the first two weeks, things don't look much better further down the schedule. Two weeks after the Hoover rivalry, the Jaguars face off with Bob Jones, currently ranked No. 3 in the state. It's not a pretty picture for an interim coach to walk in to. When you consider that Berguson also has to patch over any internal strife caused by Tuesday's altercation, his seems like an impossible chore.