Rush Propst remains Pell City football coach after heated school board meeting

As a special meeting called Wednesday morning was held before a packed house, a Pell City school board agenda item to fire controversial football coach Rush Propst failed when no one on the board d The administration has not presented a motion for a vote.

The agenda item called for non-renewal of Propst’s contract and a contract for his wife, who works as a secretary in the school system.

No one on the board made a motion to vote on the item, so it died, keeping the contracts in place for the Propsts.

“I’m just proud to be the head football coach at Pell City,” Propst told after the meeting, which he did not attend. “Our work here is not done. Obviously there was a movement somewhere, but the powers that be saw fit to keep me as head coach.

A large crowd of supporters, including members of the Pell City football team, gathered at the board meeting to support Propst. A rally in support of the coach also took place Tuesday evening. When the motion to fire Propst died down, the large crowd applauded.

“I think there’s a lot of support for our football program and what we’re trying to do,” Propst said. “There will always be biting comebacks. You’re going to have to fight, but the good news is that better days are ahead. I would like to thank the Board of Directors for continuing to give me this opportunity. I’m delighted to be the coach here. We have a lot of work to do. This will not change quickly. It will take time. This thing was dead on arrival when I got here, and I’m excited to be moving forward in a positive direction.

Propst, who rose to fame leading Hoover to national prominence, went 1-9 in his first season in Pell City. They lost a second win (24-16 against Center Point) due to an eligibility issue.

Neither board members nor Superintendent James Martin spoke to the media after the meeting. When asked if he thought the controversy surrounding his professional future was over, Propst told “I think I’m good.”

He also said he was grateful for the show of support from the community and his football team.

“It makes you feel good,” he said. “It makes you want to go to work. It feels a bit like we’re starting over. I was so happy to see our football team there. I was at the football field talking to some college coaches. I turned around and there were no players. They were all at the meeting.

“I appreciate their support. Many positive things await us. We still have things to do, but every school has problems. You just have to navigate and continue to do what we came here to do, which is build a proud program in Pell City.

A crowd of fans, including members of the football team, gathers outside the Pell City School Board’s special meeting Wednesday in support of Coach Rush Propst. (Evan Dudley |

Propst was officially hired at Pell City on March 31, 2023. He had returned to coaching at Alabama the previous January when he was hired as associate head coach at Class 1A Coosa Christian in Gadsden.

Before being hired at Coosa, Propst last coached at Alabama in 2007, when he led Hoover to a 6-6 record. He won five Class 6A titles with the Bucs, including four straight from 2002 to 2005. He went 110-16 in nine years as head coach at Hoover.

He won two state titles in 11 years as head coach of Colquitt County, Georgia, accumulating 119 additional victories. He also served as head coach at Ashville (1989-1992), Eufaula (1993-1996), Alba/Alma Bryant (1997-1998) and Valdosta, Ga. (2020).

“I’m convinced this may be the final chapter of my coaching career,” Propst said after being hired at Pell City.

He hadn’t been coaching for two years, watching his son play football at Piedmont, before taking the job at Coosa and then Pell City.

The Pell City school board meeting drew a large crowd Wednesday morning. On the agenda, the non-renewal of football coach Rush Propst. (Evan Dudley |

This story will be updated

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