The Meridian Public School District (MPSD) Board of Trustees voted during an executive, closed-door session Monday to uphold the termination of Meridian High School head football coach Martez Edwards.
Edwards, 39, was placed on administrative leave with pay May 6 after an inappropriate photo of himself surfaced on social media. He confirmed to The Meridian Star the photo was of him but said he sent it only to a woman he was dating in Atlanta and that the picture had been illegally obtained from his cell phone and proliferated throughout the community.
Edwards nor his attorney, Kathryn McNair, were present at Monday’s board meeting.
While the board wouldn’t comment publicly on its decision, MPSD public relations director Matt Davis provided a document that read, “After a board discussion, the board voted to uphold the termination decision of employee ME by Superintendent Dr. Amy Carter as reflected in the board order to be provided to the employee by and his attorney; a copy of which is maintained in the employee’s personnel file.”
Edwards said in a phone call Monday evening he intends to appeal his termination through the chancery court.
“I’m not happy with the decision — I don’t think it was the right decision,” Edwards said. “I don’t think it was evaluated fairly or that I was treated fairly as an employee. I think it was wrong. I’m going to take it to the next level and jurisdiction.”
Monday's decision ends a month-and-a-half long dispute between Edwards and the MPSD. Last Thursday, Edwards and McNair met with the board at a special-called meeting where Edwards spoke for 10 minutes and offered a statement regarding his situation. The board adjourned for deliberation without a resolution at the time, setting up Monday's vote.
Edwards was hired on Jan. 28 from Forest Park High School (Georgia), where he compiled a 5-17 record over two seasons. Before arriving at Forest Park, Edwards went 30-18 at Bessemer City High School (Alabama).
Edwards replaced former Meridian head coach Calvin Hampton, who resigned last November after three years with the program. For the 91 days from Feb. 11 to June 30, Edwards was scheduled to be paid $44,000, according to his contract with the district.
Meridian has begun its summer football workout program and opens the 2019 season Aug. 23 at Northeast Lauderdale. The Wildcats went 4-7 last year and were absent from the postseason for the first time in 15 years.