Former Manatee High football coach speaks out about allegations against him

BRADENTON, Fla. - Former Manatee High School football coach and Athletic Director Joe Kinnan fired back at the Manatee County School District Wednesday, saying the district "purposely timed" an investigation about the school's baseball coach with his already-planned resignation from his Athletic Director position.

"The new superintendent and others launched a full scale attack on my position and reputation," Kinnan said in front of Bradenton City Hall, where he called the news conference.

So many people were shouting questions at Kinnan during today's City Hall meeting that a police officer had to step in and calm things down. All this as Kinnan told a crowd of reporters, supporters and critics that he's done nothing wrong. 

Kinnan, who is a three-time cancer survivor and Manatee High School graduate, had been with the district for 29 years as a teacher, business manager, head football coach and Athletic Director.

Kinnan said that as part of a new policy that didn't allow Athletic Directors to also coach, he had already planned to step down last fall from his position effective January 2014. After he submitted his resignation, Kinnan said he received a hand delivered package to his home about an administrative complaint against him related to an investigation of the head baseball coach for financial improprieties.

"The district purposely timed the delivery of the administrative complaint and investigative report along with the release of these documents to the media to make it appear to the community that I resigned as AD because of the finding of the report,"  said Kinnan. "The truth is, had I known about the district's findings and complaint, I would not have resigned until after the baseball matter was resolved," Kinnan said. 
 
Kinnan announced earlier this summer he planned to take medical leave as recommended by his doctor, due to the stress of the investigation and allegations against him and their effects on his health. "They responded by hiring a football coach to permanently replace me," said Kinnan.
 
Kinnan's news conference comes amid a tumultuous year at Manatee High School. Last year, assistant football coach Roderick Frazier pleaded no contest to battery charges after being accused of groping a student. Several high school employees were investigated for covering it up.
 
Later that year, former baseball coach Dwayne Strong resigned amid allegations he ran a "pay to play" system involving The Sandlot at 5-Tools, an indoor hitting facility he owns and operated on the side. 
 
Kinnan told ABC Action News Wednesday he refutes all allegations mounted against him by the school district. "The district has used unscrupulous tactics to make change and justify the elimination of numerous long term employees. Many good people have been damaged and this can not be allowed to continue," he said.  
 
ABC Action News reached out to the office of the Manatee superintendent. The office is aware of Kinnan's recent statements and may provide a response. 
 
Kinnan said he's retained a lawyer but has yet to take any formal legal action against the school district. 

 

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