The Meridian Public School District has placed Meridian High School head football coach Martez Edwards on administrative leave.
The Meridian Public School District issued a news release Monday afternoon stating, “The Meridian Public School District is aware of the inappropriate photo circulating of an MPSD employee. The employee has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the school district.”
The statement added the district would have no further comment at this time.
Meridian athletic director Chuck Butler met with athletic staff members Monday and informed them Edwards was on administrative leave with pay, according to unnamed sources within the district.
Butler told The Star he could not comment beyond the district's statement.
A photo of what appeared to be a nude Edwards was shared Monday on social media. People within the district indicated on Friday such a photo existed and was inappropriately shared.
On Friday, Edwards indicated he was still active as head coach, and he was present for Meridian’s Saturday scrimmage.
Edwards was introduced as Meridian's head football coach in January.
The Meridian Public School District Board of Education was expected to bring Edwards’ hire up for consideration in late January but refrained from doing so.
He was approved a few days later during a Saturday retreat, and his hire was made official at a Jan. 28 press conference at the school.
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.
A Sept. 12, 2014, Al.com article reported Edwards’ arrest for a third-degree domestic violence charge while he was the head coach at Bessemer City High School. Edwards was reinstated two weeks later, and the charges were eventually dismissed, according to Al.com.
When asked about the board’s delay of Edwards’ hire, Meridian High School principal Victor Hubbard offered the following explanation shortly after Edwards’ introductory press conference.
“I think it was just the fact that he was able to speak to the board,” Hubbard said of the delay. “Our superintendent was able to allow him to speak to the board, and that was good. I think that was only fair that he spoke to the board to give them any type of opportunity (for him) to answer any questions they might want to ask. I wasn’t there, but he spoke to the board and the athletic director spoke to the board, and I think they answered the questions that they might have had.”
Hubbard, at the time, said he was unaware of the domestic violence charge and dismissal of the charge.
Edwards most recently coached at Georgia’s Forest Park High School, where he compiled a 5-17 record over the last two seasons. Before his arrival at Forest Park, Edwards guided the Bessemer City Tigers to a 30-18 record over a four-year period.