Eugene “Bud” Walpole, the head football coach at Academic Magnet High School, is no longer coaching at the school following an investigation by the Charleston County School District into “inappropriate post-game celebrations,” according to a press release from the district this morning.
The district has not said what the specific celebrations were, but parents from the school are reporting that members of the football team have been breaking open watermelons after winning games. Parents are saying that the inciting incident took place after a victory over a majority-black school, and Live 5 News is reporting that parents complained the players were making monkey noises while they celebrated. All but two of the teams on this year’s AMHS football schedule are from majority-black schools. The press release from the district says the following:
There was an allegation related to inappropriate post game celebrations by the Academic Magnet High School (AMHS) Football Team. An investigation was conducted and, as a result of the investigation, the head football coach will no longer be serving as a coach for Charleston County School District.”
Coach Walpole has led the team to a 6-2 record this season, an unusual winning streak for the school. Coach Andrew Rusciolelli will serve as interim head coach for the two remaining games of the season.
A petition to reinstate Coach Walpole has been posted on change.org, and over 1,000 signatures have been collected so far. The petition states:
“The Charleston County School District has decided that smashing Watermelons (a fruit) after a win is offensive. Please support the AMHS football team by signing this petition.”
The Charleston County School District Board of Trustees is scheduled to have a meeting today to be briefed on the investigation that led to Walpole’s firing. It will be closed to the public since it concerns a personnel matter.
Walpole has not responded to a request for comment.