By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

The Trousdale County School Board voted at its meeting Thursday night to certify a 53-day suspension without pay for assistant football coach Brandon Eden.

Eden, who also serves as head coach at Jim Satterfield Middle School, was suspended following an investigation by Director of Schools Clint Satterfield into an incident that occurred on the practice field on May 7.

According to results of the investigation, Eden “forcefully grabbed a student-athlete by the helmet and yelled profanity-laced criticism” at the player before the two were separated by head coach Brad Waggoner.

Photo courtesy of Trousdale County Schools

The investigation also revealed that Eden walked over to the fence and cursed a spectator. During a meeting with TCHS Principal Teresa Dickerson on May 8, Eden reportedly cursed her and walked out of the meeting.

Eden was suspended for conduct unbecoming a member of the teaching profession, inefficiency, incompetence and insubordination. The suspension took effect on May 9 and is for 53 instructional days, meaning he is currently ineligible to return to work until Oct. 1.

“In my opinion, these charges are sufficient to warrant a serious disciplinary consequence,” Satterfield said. “He responded with conduct unbecoming a member of the teaching profession, which is one of the charges.

“For those behaviors, I have recommended a long-term suspension for Mr. Eden.”

Eden was to receive a letter certifying the suspension on Friday. From that point, he has 30 days to appeal under state law. An appeal would first be made to an impartial hearing officer who would have no ties to any party involved. Under Tennessee Code Annotated 49-5-512, further appeals could be made to the School Board or in Chancery Court.

Under the terms of his suspension, Eden is not allowed on the school campus or at any school-sponsored event without Satterfield’s written permission, except for picking up or dropping off his children.

Satterfield said it was too soon to determine what, if any, coaching duties Eden would resume once the suspension ends. His suspension will likely cover most, if not all, of the middle school football season. Satterfield also said it was too soon to determine who would serve as an acting coach at JSMS.

“We’ll have to watch and see how things go,” Satterfield said. “He’s entitled to due process, so we want to be sure that we’re disciplining any employee within the bounds of the law.”

Per school board policy, the suspension is without pay.

Eden declined to comment when contacted by The Vidette. He has been a part of the TCHS coaching staff since 2007 and became head coach at JSMS in 2015.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.