Football coach reportedly threatens to lynch black players for misbehaving

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Students at Centennial High School said that their assistant football coach made several racist remarks to players, including telling black players that they would hang from a tree by their toes because they were misbehaving.

“You need to be quiet. You see that rope over there, you see that tree back there, I’m going to hang you in that tree. I’m going to hang you by your toes,” the coach said, according to one student.

The coach, Todd Campbell, also allegedly told black players that they ran fast because they ate fried chicken and drank Kool-Aid, while he also called Hispanic players “esé” and used the term “cracker.”

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Parents of the students involved complained to head coach Ronny Mullins and Principal Randy Spain, and Mullins spoke with Campbell about the allegations. He later wrote in an email, “An apology was made by the coach in regard to saying something that offended the athlete (and the apology was accepted); I appropriately handled [the issue] with the coach in our separate meeting as well.”

District spokeswoman Shana Wortham said that an investigation was completed concerning the matter and that the investigation found that Mullins and Spain acted appropriately. Asked if new training would be provided to address the situation, Wortham said, “We are continually looking for ways to improve and keep staff current on processes and best practices. Many of these efforts are part of our strategic planning effort and are not related to any particular investigation.”

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