Judge denies request to allow ex-softball coach to regain job in Anderson County

gkocher1@herald-leader.comJanuary 27, 2014 

LAWRENCEBURG — An Anderson County man's request for a temporary injunction to allow him to be reinstated as Anderson County High School's softball coach was denied Monday.

Brian Glass had sought an injunction so he could resume as coach. He was reassigned to a position as an assistant middle school coach in July after his brother, Chris Glass, was promoted to principal of the high school. Brian Glass had filed suit against Superintendent Sheila Mitchell and the Anderson County Board of Education.

Anderson Circuit Judge Charles Hickman said Monday that Glass's case failed to meet two thresholds for an injunction to be granted.

First, under the law, Glass does not have a "fundamental, concrete right" to be head the girls' softball coach, the judge said.

Second, there was no immediate or irreparable harm in the reassignment because there was no reduction in salary or benefits to Glass, Hickman said.

During a hearing Monday, Glass testified that the only reason given for his reassignment was that an anti-nepotism law prevented him from working as a coach under his brother's supervision.

Hickman's ruling did not address whether the anti-nepotism law prevents Glass from maintaining the coaching position.

"That question cannot be decided today," Hickman said in open court.

Mitchell, the superintendent, and school board attorney, Robert Chenoweth, had no comment after the hearing.

David Guarnieri, attorney for Glass, said he doesn't disagree with the judge's ruling, but he said his client and the community deserve to know whether Glass could continue to be coach under the anti-nepotism law.

"So far Brian's only been told he's been removed because it's against the law," Guarnieri said. "If they (the school board and its attorney) want to say that there is somebody who can do a better job, or there are compelling reasons ... that make sense to reassign him, let's have that conversation. We're willing to have that conversation. But that's not what he's been told."

In related action, Hickman dismissed co-plaintiffs Bryan and Jenny Ashby from Glass's lawsuit. Their daughter, who was not named in the complaint, would have been coached by Glass had he not been reassigned. Hickman said the Ashbys had no standing, or right to challenge in court, the conduct of Mitchell or the school board.

Hickman rejected a motion to dismiss the school board from the complaint.

During his time as head coach, teams led by Brian Glass won two regional championships and six district titles. Last June, he was named 8th Region coach of the year.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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