Westside coach resigns amid allegations of pre-game doping

Westside Coach Resigns

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Westside volleyball coach resigned suddenly last week after school administrators accused her of giving a performance enhancer to her players.

Deborah "Debbie" Clark resigned after Superintendent Scott Gauntt recommended she be terminated for encouraging members of the volleyball team to drink an energy drink before a game.

In a letter to Clark on Oct. 13, and obtained by Region 8 News through the Freedom of Information Act, Gauntt stated that Clark had sent a group message to the team on Sept. 13 telling them to report to her before a game so she could administer a "serum."

Gauntt said Clark sent the message without the consent of the head volleyball coach.

He said Clark then told the players to mix "C4," a product containing caffeine and labeled only for those 18 years of age and older, into their water bottles without the consent of their parents.

"Some players reported feeling shaky, unwell, and jittery, said their vision was affected, and reported 'crashing' as the caffeine effect wore off," Gauntt stated in the letter. "You were reckless and exercised poor judgment. Your actions put the health of the players in danger."

The superintendent said Clark's actions also sent a message to the players that she "approved of the use of drugs to enhance performance."

He said her actions were also "inconsistent with the trust and responsibility" she had as a teacher and a coach and "reflect poorly upon the integrity of the Westside Consolidated School teaching and coaching faculty."

Gauntt said Clark's actions were also "inconsistent with [her] continued employment" and said he would recommend that the school board terminate her contract.

The superintendent informed Clark she had 30 days to request a hearing with a school board.

Her attorney, Ben Bristow, submitted a letter to the school board on Nov. 7 requesting a public hearing on the matter. He also requested Clark's personnel file and all witness statements.

The school's attorney, Donn Mixon, told Region 8 News the school submitted the requested documents, which included statements from the students.

A special school board meeting was scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Before the board could act on Gauntt's recommendation for termination, Clark submitted her letter of resignation.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

Watch Region 8 News On Demand: On your Desktop | On your Mobile device

Region 8 News App - Install or update on your: iPhone | Android