Edwards

Meridian High School football players gathered in the lobby of the Meridian Public School District Central Office Thursday to support embattled Meridian football coach Martez Edwards.

Meridian High School football coach Martez Edwards will have to wait until Monday to find out if he will retain his job.

Edwards was placed on administrative leave with pay on May 6 after an inappropriate picture of him surfaced on social media. He contends he took the picture in late January and sent it only to a woman he was dating, and that it was illegally obtained from his cell phone and circulated throughout the community.

The Meridian Public School District’s board convened Thursday afternoon for its special-called meeting regarding Edwards’ status. Board President Gary Houston opened the meeting at noon and moved to motion to enter a closed-door executive session to “cover personnel” shortly after.

Edwards, dressed in a navy blue suit, and his attorney, Kathryn McNair, entered the closed-door session just after noon. The two exited the room after 15 minutes.

“Coach Edwards was given, pursuant to statute, the opportunity to speak to the board,” McNair said. “He gave a 10-minute statement to the board. No questions were asked. The attorney for the board declined to make a statement to the board.”

Ten of Edwards’ players and two assistant coaches gathered in the Meridian Public School District Central Office's lobby to support the embattled coach. 

Edwards said he was able to further discuss and explain the situation during the executive session.

“I presented most of what I wanted to present,” Edwards said. “Ten minutes was a short time to try to sum up a situation like this, but I was able to present most of what I wanted to present. I just want to err on the side of God being on my side and the board members making the right decision and keeping me as coach.”

The board ended its deliberation and exited the executive session at 1:04 p.m. Houston closed the meeting by saying a final resolution regarding Edwards’ status as Meridian’s head football coach will be offered during the board’s meeting Monday.

“The Board has deliberated with our consulting attorney, and the final decision will be communicated to the employee and his attorney after Monday night’s regular school board meeting,” Houston said.

On May 28, Edwards and McNair met with district attorney John Compton and its hearing officer in a meeting to determine Edwards’ future as head coach. Edwards and McNair presented materials during that time that Edwards said proved the photo in question was illegally obtained.

According to McNair, should Edwards be terminated, his next course of action will have to be taken through the chancery court system.

Edwards was hired on Jan. 28. For the 91 days from Feb. 11 to June 30, he was scheduled to be paid $44,000, according to his contract with the district. 

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