High School Football Coach Fired After Baptizing Players

A Georgia high school football coach has left his position after videos emerged of him baptizing 20 of his players.

“Yesterday after practice Coach Ferrell gave the guys the opportunity to be baptized by Pastor Few. 20 young men made the decision to go #ALLIN with Christ!! Show them some support#BiggerThanFootball,” a Facebook post read.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation criticized the school district, saying the event was “unconstitutional.”

In a letter to Tattnall County Superintendent Kristen Waters, Freedom from Religion Foundation attorney Christopher Line wrote, “Student athletes have the First Amendment right to be free from religious indoctrination when participating in the public school’s athletics program. It is illegal for public school athletic coaches to invite or instruct others, such as pastors, to lead their team in prayer or other religious activities, including proselytizing and baptisms.”

“Student athletes are especially susceptible to coercion, since they know that their coaches control their playing time and positions — directly affecting students’ opportunities for college scholarships and recruitment. When coaches invite a pastor to repeatedly preach to student athletes and try to convince those students to be baptized, the students will no doubt feel that participating in these religious activities is essential to pleasing their coaches and being viewed as a team player,” the letter continued. “It is unrealistic and unconstitutional to put before student athletes the false choice of allowing their constitutional rights to be violated in order to maintain good standing in the eyes of their coaches and peers or openly dissenting at the risk of retaliation and ostracization from coaches and teammates.”

Superintendent Waters subsequently announced that Coach Isaac Ferrel is no longer serving as a coach for the school, but is still a teacher.

“The District decided that it would seek a Head football coach that aligned with the best interests of the students of Tattnall County for the 2024-2025 school year,” the school district said in a statement.