The area director of the Southern Alabama Fellowship of Christian Athletes announced his support of Davidson High School Head Football Coach Fred Riley in a recent press release.
Riley's program is in the spotlight after freshman quarterback Rodney Kim Jr. suffered a broken arm in what the district attorney's office has deemed an assault at the school Friday, April 27. Cell phone video recorded the incident which was initially referred to as a varsity hazing incident.
The Kim family is suing the Mobile County Public School System for $12 million. They are also asking that Davidson High School forfeits the upcoming football season, all 20 football players involved in the attack to face felony charges, to ban hazing in all high schools across the nation and the firing of Riley and the entire staff of the Davidson football program.
Southern Alabama FCA Area Director Dennis Hayford said, "Coach Riley and the Davidson football coaches are heroes in Mobile county. They're some of the best."
Hayford wanted to vouch for the coach's character since Riley has not spoken publicly about the beating.
"I do big FCA events for football teams in the area and Fred Riley is always the first to sign his team up. He has 100% attendance at all of our big events in the last ten years. Not any other coach in Mobile County can say that," Hayford said.
Hayford said he's known riley the entire 14 years he's been Davidson's head coach, even serving as the team's chaplain for four years.
"There's just nothing in that program that i see that is anything but for the benefit of the players. certainly not a fight club mentality. certainly not any hazing incidents, anything like that," Hayford said.
Mobile Police said three students are in custody at the Strickland Youth Center, but a fourth still hasn't turned himself in. Although Hayford didn't speak much about the actual incident, he said it's important he stands behind Coach Riley."
"This is just an isolated incident that doesn't reflect the overall quality of the Davidson High School Football Program," Hayford said.
Davidson's spring game against Baldwin County High School has been canceled, but it's unclear if the team is still practicing. We have asked the school system but haven't heard back.
Mobile Police said investigators were at Davidson High Tuesday performing more interviews.
We'll let you know if more warrants are issued.
Below is the entire release from FCA Area Director Dennis Hayford:
"I’m writing in response to the recent incident involving members of the Davidson football team. The actions of the boys responsible are horrendous. I’m sure school and law enforcement officials will respond appropriately to the parties involved and that justice will be served. I also pray for quick and thorough healing for the injured young man.
The intent of this press release is to express my support for Fred Riley. I have known him the entire fourteen years he’s been Davidson’s head coach. At our first meeting, he asked me to stay on as chaplain for the football team. As his chaplain for four years, I had unrestricted access to practices, team meetings, coaches meetings, and travel to and from games. In all those instances, I saw Fred make many decisions. All of which, were in the player’s best interest. During that time, he co-founded with me the ‘Next Level’ football camp which endures to this day. It’s a time of perspiration and inspiration! Unlike most football camps which only focus on skill development, ‘Next Level’ camp challenges them to become Godly men to better impact their homes, schools, and communities.
In 2008, I became the regional director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. This vocational move necessitated my resignation as DHS chaplain. Fred immediately filled my spot with another spiritual leader for his young men. As FCA director, I conduct large events to expose young men and women to Biblical principles and work to improve their character. Fred Riley has his team at every event. That’s one hundred percent attendance; A better record than any other coach in our region. Our biggest event, the FCA Senior Bowl Student Rally is held annually each year in partnership with the Senior Bowl. Every school and every high school team in our eight county area is invited. Davidson football has been represented every year. Most years they are the largest group to attend! For their efforts, Fred and Susan Riley were awarded our FCA MVP award in 2016 for service above and beyond the call of duty to their school. If I had young sons, he is the kind of coach I would want my boys to play for."
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