Damieon Mills has been relieved of his head football coaching duties at Capitol High, ending a 11/2-season tenure marked by battles with dwindling numbers and the Recovery District School’s clash with the LHSAA in 2011.
“It’s true ... I’m not at Capitol anymore,” Mills said. “I got dismissed on Monday. I am going to miss the kids there and working with them. The day I walked in the school there were five guys on the team. The players worked their butts off every day.
“I believe we were about to turn the corner. I’m not going to throw any mud around. In the eyes of the administration, I’m not the person to lead the team there. I didn’t do anything I wasn’t allowed to do while I was there.”
Class 2A Capitol is 1-4. The Lions’ lone win was over Glen Oaks on Sept. 14. Mills said Capitol dressed out 22 players in its last game, a 41-20 loss to Class 5A East St. John last Thursday. The Lions play a District 7-2A opener at The Dunham School on Friday.
Claude Coleman, Capitol’s first-year boys basketball coach, is the interim coach.
“Coach Mills is no longer on our staff,” Capitol first-year Principal Roy Walker said. “I asked coach Coleman if he would be willing to step in and he graciously accepted.
“There are some things as a principal that I needed to take control of. There are some issues with the LHSAA that we have reported that need to be addressed. But our plan is to move forward.”
The Lions were 1-9 in 2011, Mills’ first year. A Capitol quarterback in the 1990s, Mills was hired in July 2011 while the school was reorganized as part of the RSD. Rumors about the school closing prompted a decline in enrollment.
A number of football players had transferred to other area schools because of the rumors and returned to the inner city school. Several players sought eligibility last fall through the LHSAA’s hardship committee.
When the hardship appeal was denied, the RSD and community leaders filed for a restraining order that allowed a nine players to compete during the first portion of the season.
Once the restraining order ran out, the players were ruled ineligible and could not compete for the remainder of the season. An LHSAA ruling required underclassmen to sit out the number of games played during the restraining order in 2012, LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson said.
Henderson said the LHSAA is checking into information regarding those 2011 sanctions. Henderson said the school reported a possible violation, but also said has not talked to Walker yet to assess the situation.
Meanwhile, Walker is working to reshape the Capitol staff. Katrell Dixon, a fine arts teacher and the school’s boys basketball coach last season, is joining the football staff that also includes Robert Delmore. Walker said some nonfaculty coaches will serve as assistants and that 30 players are currently out for the team.
“We’re in a situation where I’m going to have dust off my whistle and get out there,” Walker said. “That’s OK, because we’re going to do what is best for the kids. Hopefully, we can get some wins and get a spot in the playoffs.”
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