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Coach urges school board to let him volunteer at George Washington

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The football community at George Washington High School is in a furor over hurdles that are keeping a local coach from working with the football team.

Scott Tinsley, a former coach at WVU Tech, West Virginia State University and Nitro High School, wants to volunteer to help coach football at GW this fall but hasn't been able to gain approval from county administrators.

Last week, he went to a Kanawha County school board meeting, looking for answers — and approval to help coach — during the open comment portion. County officials have refused to speak publicly about Tinsley's case, though, until it can be brought before the board as an agenda item.

The earliest time that can happen, now, is at the board's next regular meeting next month when, Tinsley says, "football season is already well underway."

"I wish we could get it sorted out before then," he said.

Tinsley made an impassioned speech to the school board last week, countering rumors that he has a strained relationship with his family, has slept in the field house during other coaching assignments and has been in trouble with the law — all things he thought could hinder his approval to volunteer at GW, though he said he "hopes that's not it."

"No one has ever come to me and said, 'Scott, here's why you can't coach, can you talk to me about this?' " he said. "I wish this were a forum where you could ask me about all this . . . I guess what I'm doing is asking you all for a chance to work hard with these kids and work with them on the field.

"And one day I'd like to be able to see you at a ball game or at the grocery store and say thank you for what you're doing on the board, and you'll say to me, 'Thank you for what you're doing with our kids.' "

The football community at GW circulated a petition in support of Tinsley. It was presented to board members last week by Mike Mackey, president of the GW football boosters, along with a slew of letters from children and parents who have worked with Tinsley and support him as a coach.

"At some point in his illustrious career he may have rubbed some people the wrong way," Mackey said. "But I have admired and respected Tinsley not because of his ability to coach young people on the football field but his ability to help kids become better, more productive member of society."

Tinsley is currently the golf coach at West Virginia University Institute of Technology and isn't looking to be hired. He said he wants only to volunteer his time.

Tinsley served as the offensive coordinator at Nitro during its Class AAA state championship season of 1998 and then took over as head coach of the Wildcats in 2002 and left the school following the 2007 season to become the football coach at Tech.

During his time at Nitro, Tinsley coached two players who won the Kennedy Award, which is given annually to West Virginia's top high school football player. J.R. House won the award in 1996 and 1998. Josh Culbertson won the award in 2005.

"I don't even want paid," he said. "I have a job, but I like football, I want to do football. I just want to help these kids."

Most school board members have refused to comment on the matter publicly, but board member Becky Jordon, who has children at GW, said her husband signed the petition in favor of Tinsley.

Jordon's husband is Andrew Jordon, owner of Pritchard Mining. The Patriots' field house is named after Jordon's mother.

"I did not sign the petition, I know nothing about football, but I can tell you that Andrew Jordon believes firmly that he would be a benefit to these young men," she said, throwing her support behind the coach as well.

Contact writer Shay Maunz at or 304-348-4886.


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