News 13 obtained new information Thursday about a volunteer coach who was allowed to work with Mosley High School football program despite having a criminal record.
Mosley officials said Head Football Coach Jeremy Brown asked the school’s principal to allow the volunteer, Rodney Bush, to work with the program. Because of Bush’s criminal background, Principal Brian Bullock refused the request. Bullock thought that was the end of the matter until he later learned Brown brought Bush into the program anyway.
Bullock discovered this when Bush was arrested and charged with manufacture of crack, possession of crack, possession of cocaine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon earlier this month.
In a letter to parents about the matter, Mosley officials declined to name the volunteer or explain the extent of his criminal background.
On Thursday News 13 learned Panama City police arrested Bush in 1995 and he was later convicted of second-degree attempted murder. According to court records, Bush shot another man during an altercation at the Safari Lounge which was located on East 11th Street where the juvenile courthouse is now located.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
School officials said Bush would not have passed their background check program for volunteers, but pointed out that Brown brought Bush into the football program without going through a background check and against the wishes of the principal.
Brown was suspended for one game. News 13 received an exclusive statement from Bullock Thursday evening.
“While reiterating my support for Coach Brown and my belief that he was trying to support someone he thought was turning his life around, I have to also stress my sincere disappointment that Coach Brown ignored my directive in this matter and circumvented the district’s approval process for vetting volunteer coaches,” Bullock wrote. “I was completely unaware that Coach Brown decided, on his own, to add this person as a volunteer coach despite my directive. At no time was this person a BDS employee, or even an approved volunteer coach, and it’s my understanding that he was never alone with the athletes.”
The statement continued: “That being said, we have exceptionally high standards for those we allow to interact with our students and our comprehensive vetting process does include criminal background checks and other procedures designed to prevent situations like this from occurring.”
“I believe Coach Brown had good intentions but good intentions are no replacement for policies, procedures and adherence to the law. Again, I’m not going to discuss personnel issues in depth but I can say with certainty that difficult conversations have ensued and disciplinary action is involved,” Bullock wrote. “I appreciate all of the supportive comments we’ve received during this challenging time and I know the team is in excellent hands this Friday night under the direction of Coach Nagy.”