Tahlequah Sequoyah football coach files suit against school
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Saturday, December 22, 2012
12/22/12 at 5:42 AM
A suit seeking reinstatement of employment was filed Friday on behalf of former Tahlequah Sequoyah head football coach Brent Scott and one other Sequoyah athletic administrator in the District Court of the Cherokee Nation.
Named as defendants are Sequoyah Superintendent Leroy Qualls and the Cherokee Nation, which administers the school.
Joining Scott as plaintiff in the suit is Dale Miller, who shared some duties as athletic director with Larry Grigg.
All three are on administrative leave. The school has not confirmed the dismissals, but all three told the Tulsa World they had received termination letters.
Grigg, who was in his 16th year with the school and guided the boys basketball team to a Class 3A state title in 2003, said he had decided not to pursue legal action. "I've decided to go out the door quietly and see what else I can get," he said.
The suit alleges that Sequoyah denied Scott and Miller due process by terminating them without showing cause, required by the tribal constitutions for any Cherokee Nation employee of longer than a year; and by doing it without consulting the school's Board of Education.
"We respect the Cherokee Nation court system and are confident these allegations will be found to be without merit," Cherokee Nation spokesperson Amanda Clinton said.
Chad Smith, attorney for plaintiffs and former Cherokee National principal chief, said, "This administration is heartless. It is Christmas. And they fire these fine coaches knowing it will be next August before other coaching positions open up. This administration is quick to turn its back on these coaches who have built Sequoyah into a place all Indian Country is proud of."
The suit seeks reinstatement of employment, recovery of lost wages, general and punitive damages and "declaratory judgment that plaintiffs were wrongfully terminated and denied pretermination due process."
Smith has a hearing set for Jan. 2 on a motion for a temporary order.
"I'm kind of numb with everything that's gone on," said Scott, who guided the football program for nine seasons. "I don't have anything bad to say about anybody. We're just trying to get it right."
Miller declined comment.
Seqouoyah went 9-1 in 2012, but the Indians forfeited all nine wins after 12 players were suspended for attending summer camps at school expense, a violation of Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association rules.
Scott, on administrative leave since Oct. 23, says he only did what prior administrators told him to do in sending athletes to camp at school expense. Qualls and Sequoyah athletic director Marcus Crittenden are in the first year of their current positions.
On Nov. 7, the OSSAA's board of directors cleared 11 of the suspended football players to participate in winter and spring sports. The lone exception was the coach's son, Brayden Scott, a senior quarterback headed to the University of Memphis on a football scholarship.
The OSSAA also placed Sequoyah on warning status for two years, meaning any serious rules violation could result in probation or suspension from OSSAA membership.
Original Print Headline: Sequoyah coach files suit seeking reinstatement
Mike Brown 918-581-8390