LAURINBURG — A former coach who was banned from participating or even attending sports events at county parks has been reinstated.
Scotland County Park and Recreation officials said the situation is a good reason to make sure proper procedures are in place.
The Scotland County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board voted unanimously to lift the ban on Andre McMillian who appealed his case to the board on Tuesday. The decision allows McMillian to attend events, but not participate as a coach or referee. McMillian had sought help from the county commissioners last month and that board referred the issue to the advisory panel for a hearing.
McMillian, a volunteer coach with football, basketball and baseball for nearly a decade, said he was banned in April 2015 after an incident at a baseball game.
McMillan, who once worked in the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office, said a former inmate approached him at the game and threatened him with a knife. McMillian said he stopped the game out of fear for the safety of his young players.
McMillian said he thinks he was banned because officials felt he used poor judgment, but he said he always had the welfare of the children “at heart.”
“I love coaching,” he said. “It is not right what they are doing to me. I got banned for nothing.”
But several board members said that McMillian’s ban had to do with “more than he was letting on.” They said as a coach McMillan had issues with judgment, sportsmanship and even inappropriate posts on social media.
However when board member Daniel Dockery asked if McMillian had been received any warnings about his behavior, he was told that the only record was a letter dated April 27, 20156 informing him of the ban. Officials said even that letter was short on specifics.
“Did we follow our own protocol? Dockery said.
Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Graham said the department is working to make sure polices and procedures are in place to deal with a myriad of issues, including conduct and discipline.
The board said it would be up to Graham to determine if or when McMillian is able to volunteer with the department again.
“He was a good coach for the most part,” said Al Blades, assistant parks and recreation director. “They kids in the community loved him. They called him Phil Jackson.”
Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3023