The head coach of Bay High School’s football team has been suspended after he was arrested and charged with DUI Saturday.
Mike Watkins was charged with misdemeanor DUI at about 4:00 AM on Highway 231 near Cherokee Heights.
Bay District officials announced Monday that Watkins had been suspended.
“We’re addressing it, as we always do, through our Human Resources Department and the administration at Bay High School,” district officials wrote. “Coach Watkins is currently suspended with pay while we work through this process. We do hold our employees to the highest of moral standards and we expect them to conduct themselves as role models for our students so any negative involvement with law enforcement, by any of our employees, is always very disappointing.”
On Monday afternoon, Watkins released this statement: “I am aware that my actions this weekend have disappointed a lot of people but no one is more disappointed in me than I am. As a Coach I know that I am charged with being a role model to my athletes and that’s a responsibility I take very seriously. Please know that I will be offering my apologies to every player and parent on my team and I promise to use this experience to become a better man, a better coach and a better role model. I will be cooperating fully with both Bay District Schools and the court system as this process continues. I genuinely appreciate the opportunity to have a second chance and I am sincere in both my remorse and regret and my desire and commitment to improve.”
Bay High School has a home game against Chiles on Thursday night.
Bay High Principal also released a statement, saying: “We share the Superintendent’s disappointment but also share Coach Watkins’ optimism that this situation will lead to improvements and opportunities for him as a coach and as a role model. Our team is in excellent hands this week with Coach Elliott and we know that he will help our players remain focused on the game. This has been a difficult situation to work through but we commend the professionalism of our staff and our athletes and we appreciate the district’s support.”
This is a developing story and we will have more information as it becomes available.
UPDATE: Monday afternoon, Bay County officials announced the terms of Coach Watkins’ suspension in a statement:
“I met with Coach Watkins earlier today to discuss this situation and its impact on his career, his school and his team. Coach Watkins is committed to doing whatever it takes to learn and grow from this experience and he accepts responsibility for his actions. He is currently suspended without pay for a week and has agreed to pursue counseling along with any other court-ordered sanctions.”
Watkins will be eligible to return to the sidelines on September 28th for Bay High’s road game at Pensacola High.
Tom Elliott will fill in as interim coach this week as the Tornadoes prepare for Thursday’s game against Chiles.