Pinecrest football coach will remain after investigation concludes

— Pinecrest High School football coach Chris Metzger will not be terminated by Moore County Schools despite an investigation into rules violations that led to the school forfeiting all but one game from the 2015 season.

Moore County Schools announced the decision in a press release on Tuesday, ending the investigation.

Superintendent Dr. Bob Grimesey hired a law firm to conduct an independent investigation after eligibility violations surround junior varsity players playing varsity football led to the forfeiture of the football season and $5,000 in fines. The N.C. High School Athletic Association also put Pinecrest on probation.

“No matter what any of us have accomplished in the past, all public servants remain accountable for their actions in the present. None of us, especially the superintendent and others in leadership, ever become so big or so important that we are incapable of failure” Grimesey said in a statement. “We always must remain vigilant in paying attention to details, especially those that can result in significant loss of opportunity for students, the loss of public or contributed funds or the loss of public trust.”

The investigation included a number of interviews with people involved in the violations, including Metzger and athletic director Ernie Purnsley.

Grimesey said the violations would have given him sufficient reasoning to terminate both Metzger and Purnsley, but after the investigation concluded, he decided they could be part of the solution.

“In my subsequent meetings with Mr. Purnsley and Coach Metzger, I appreciated their candor, their willingness to accept responsibility and their willingness to sign their names to plans intended to ensure improved institutional control and more effective attention to regulatory details. Based on those assurances, I have elected to allow them to continue their employment with Moore County Schools,” Grimesey said.

According to Moore County Schools, Metzger and Purnsley have publicly accepted responsibility for the violations and each of them will pay half of the $5,000 fine levied against the school. They are also on probation with the school system through Dec. 31, 2016.

In a written statement, Metzger said he appreciates the support from the community and from the school district.

“I would like to first thank all of the individuals who expressed their support of me in connection with the recent investigation conducted by Moore County Schools. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to all of you. I also want to thank Dr. Grimesey as well as the school’s investigative team for performing a fair and equitable investigation. I also want to thank Dr. Grimesey for providing me with a second opportunity to do what I love at Pinecrest High School. The unfortunate events that led to the premature conclusion of our football season have taught me some valuable lessons that will allow me to be a better man and a better coach in the future,” Metzger said.

Pinecrest is a member of the Southeastern 4-A Conference. The Patriots failed to make the state playoffs after forfeiting their season in November.

Follow Nick Stevens on Twitter @NickStevensHSOT

,Pinecrest High School football coach Chris Metzger will not be terminated by Moore County Schools despite an investigation into rules violations.

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