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Report: Florida coach head-butted player, told another to commit suicide

USA TODAY High School Sports logo USA TODAY High School Sports 9/12/2018 Cam Smith, USA TODAY High School Sports
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A disturbing report from the Jacksonville area claims a former high school football coach head-butted one student during a practice, shot a snot rocket at another, tried to urinate on a third while the student was using the bathroom, and finally, told a fourth he should commit suicide.

The full gauntlet of repulsive accusations were levied against former Putnam County assistant football coach Randell Gene Owens per ABC affiliate First Coast News, one of our TEGNA affiliates. Perhaps most stunningly, it's been reported that all these moral violations occurred in the course of a single campaign during the 2017-18 school year.

In June, Owens' teaching license was permanently revoked, according to First Coast News.

The ABC affiliate provided a comprehensive timeline of the different allegations facing Owens, and they are certainly troubling:

September 17, 2013 - Owens is arrested for simple battery after an incident with a student at Valdosta High School

September 23, 2013 - Owens resigns from Valdosta High School

April 2015 - Owens lists Palatka High School as a new employer

2016-2017 - Handwritten notes titled "Concerns from 2016-2017" accuse Owens of keeping "coaches segregated," "playing favorites" and forcing players with medical issues to "go out and play."

November 22, 2016 - A note is sent from the Palatka High School Principal to the community and parents regarding an investigation into athletics programs and meeting with Athletic Director Humphries. The note explains coaches have current background checks.

Fall 2017 - Incidents reported about Owens say he "head-butting" a student-athlete, forced mucus from nostril onto 15-year-old student, told a football player "he should commit suicide," or words to that effect, and stood on a toilet seat urinating over a stall at a 16-year-old student.

December 19, 2017 - Owens resigns from Palatka High

June 19, 2018 - Florida educator's certificate revoked

Naturally, all these allegations are abhorrent, but the claim that he attempted to sway a football player to commit suicide is truly beyond the pale.

"I feel like he was a real danger not only to my son, but to other kids at the school," a mother of a Palatka High School football player told First Coast News.

If any of the allegations against Owens are true, the mother has a valid point and concern.


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