Oasis HS football coach fired for raising safety concerns?
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A fired Cape Coral high school football coach is lashing out after being fired, accusing his former school of ignoring repeated safety concerns.
Jeff Brady, a former NFL linebacker, said his new career coaching football at Oasis Charter High School became too much of a "liability."
"It was a big shocker to all of us," said team captain Austin Mitch.
Brady was unexpectedly fired Wednesday. He says staff told him he had a "different philosophy" than the school.
The former NFL pro helped expand the program from a six to 11-man team. He says he was fired when he raises safety issues.
"I am proactive when it comes to safety and football," said Brady. "I'm not reactive."
Brady says the school didn't provide medical staff and trainers at practice or games. He says he was also denied lightning detection equipment.
"We had no shelter for thunderstorms," said Brady. "We had no transportation back from the off-site [practice] facility during a thunderstorm. I was putting kids in my truck."
"These are liability issues," said Brady, "that a coaching staff shouldn't have to be put under."
On the field, players and parents were stunned.
"The decision seemed to be made kind of a knee-jerk reaction," said assistant coach Cleveland Grable, "without any actual discussion."
"He is one of the finest youth football coaches that I've been around," said Jeff Meyers, a parent who was angry over Brady's sudden dismissal.
One parent told Fox 4 off camera he didn't like Brady's management style and felt he didn't communicate well with players.
Oasis High School wouldn't say why Brady was fired, only saying they wanted to go in a new "direction."
"After listening to concerns that were expressed about the program," Lee Bush, the administrator for Cape Coral Charter Schools said in a statement, "we decided this was not the direction for Oasis High School football."
Bush thanked Brady for his service and addressed the safety concerns.
"We have a lightning meter, provided medical personnel at home games as required and there is shelter at practice field...we do not have an athletic trainer at all practices as the coach requested."
Brady tells a different story and says he was let go because he spoke out.
"They got tired of hearing from me," said Brady. "I kept ringing the bell and nobody would answer."
The team's old coach will take over for the rest of the season. The school tells Fox 4 they sent medical personnel to Thursday's away game against Immoakalee.
Oasis HS Statement
Dismissal of any coach always has emotional ramifications with parents. Some are supportive, some are not. After listening to concerns that were expressed about the program, we decided this was not the direction for Oasis High School football. Out of respect for Coach Brady, we will not discuss the reasons for the action. We appreciate what he did in organizing our first year of 11-man football. We recognize that we have improvements to make in the program for the future. Lee Bush, City of Cape Coral Charter School Administrator
We have a lightning meter, provided medical personnel at home game as required, and there is shelter at practice field. For away games, the home team is to provide medical personnel. For tonight's away game we are sending medical personnel as well. We do not have an athletic trainer at all practices as the coach requested. Our bus driver that takes the kids to the field is told to stay if rain is in the area.