Loudon County (WVLT) - A Loudon County Middle School baseball coach has come under some fire after allowing some of his players to box during practice.
But as Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb learns, some in the community are also standing by their coach.
Philadelphia Middle School baseball coach Brian Curtis has come under fire this week. Instead of giving some of his players bats, they got boxing gloves and the chance to be a fighter.
"I had two parents contact me that were concerned so I spoke with the coach on Tuesday morning," principal Kevin Gentry said.
Gentry says the players were not forced and says the coach has a boxing background. One of the players who boxed came home to tell his father.
"Didn't think anything of it. Didn't think anything of it," parent Jason Oody said.
James Oody says he thought it was unusual but supports the coach, who is a volunteer.
"He has no money received in or anything and gives a lot of time to these kids and is devoted to these kids," Oody said.
The coach is also getting the support of his biggest rival, a Lenoir City assistant baseball coach.
"He's the type of guy if you are going to play on his team your hair don't touch your ears, you're clean cut," Lenoir City assistant baseball coach Tommy Clemmer said.
Not to mention some in the community who believe the issue is being blown out of proportion.
"Well, I guess some kid come home and didn't get the best end of the stick," said Steve Oody, who supports coach Curtis.
Steve Oody says he has kids that played for Curtis for 11 years.
"I'm real thankful for what he did for mine and there's a lot of other people that should be too," Steve Oody said.
While James Oody believes the coach only wanted to make the kids a little tougher, only bats will be going to the kids from now on.
"Spoke with him and made sure he understood that there would be no more boxing," Gentry said.
Both Clemmer and Oody say they don't believe Curtis would allow anyone to get hurt. Other than not allowing anymore boxing, principal Kevin Gentry says he plans to not have anymore disciplinary action on the coach.
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