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Coach remains in limbo
Hayes still not with team as investigation into incident continues
01.13 nate hayes
Longtime Effingham County High School girls basketball coach Nate Hayes has not been coaching his team since an incident following the Jan. 5 game with South Effingham. - photo by File photo

The investigation into an incident between a coach and a player at Effingham County High School is expected to be finished soon, Superintendent Randy Shearouse said.

The incident apparently occurred following the Effingham-South Effingham girls basketball game on Jan. 5. Since then, coach Nate Hayes has been on a leave of absence and did not coach the Lady Rebels in their game Tuesday at Hardeeville (S.C.). He also did not coach the team in its games this weekend at Brunswick and at Calvary Day.
Shearouse met with Hayes on Monday morning, and the two discussed the incident and what to do.

“We talked about what happened, and we felt it was best while the investigation was being conducted he wouldn’t coach the team,” Shearouse said.

Curtis Stevens, one of the boys assistant coaches, is serving as interim coach.

Shearouse said he has talked to witnesses and interviewed some of them Thursday.

“We want to make sure we understand fully what happened,” he said. “We want to be fair to the student and to Coach Hayes as well.”

According to an incident report filed by the player’s mother with the Effingham County Sheriff’s Department, the player in question — whose name is being withheld since she is a juvenile — didn’t shake hands with the South Effingham girls team members and Hayes later grabbed her by the arm and choked her.

The sheriff’s department is not pursuing the case further.

Shearouse said he hopes to have the investigation finished by the first of the week. There is a specific procedure to follow in making recommendations to the board of education for possible action. Shearouse’s recommendations could range from no recommendation to a letter of reprimand to suspension to dismissal.

“There’s a wide variety of things that can happen at that point,” he said.

Shearouse said he will make his recommendation once he has all the information.

“We’re going to do what’s right and make the right decision, depending on what information we have,” he said.