Oak Grove names new head football coach

Oak Grove names new head football coach
Drew Causey

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Lamar County School Board approved Drew Causey to become Oak Grove high school's new football coach with a unanimous 5-0 vote this afternoon in a special called board meeting.

Causey has been on the Warriors coaching staff for three years and was the team's offensive coordinator last season. He was a candidate for the position when it was available in May .

"I got a phone call a couple hours ago and Tess Smith, our Superintendent, asked me if I wanted the job and I said 'yes ma'am I do,'" Causey said.

The board's decision comes after a conclusion to the court case involving former Troy University assistant coach Randy Butler not being approved by the school district because of the lack of a teaching certificate.

"We tried every avenue we could trying to seek licensure and it did just not work out to the final deadline that I had which was this week," Superintendent Smith said.

Butler was approved as a substitute teacher and was able to assist with the Oak Grove football team. It is not known at this time if he will remain as a substitute with the school.

This is a developing story. Seven on Your Side will bring you details as they become available.

Gag order issued:

With football season officially underway, the Oak Grove Warriors are taking the field without a head coach and a judge issued Gag Order in place.

Randy Butler was named the Oak Grove High School head coach on May 28, and since then has been in limbo with being "board approved" of acting in the official capacity.

The reason behind this; Butler does not hold a valid teaching certificate for the State of Mississippi.

"He has been board approved as a substitute teacher and the offer was made for the head coaching position at Oak Grove High School a while back, but I have not been able to put him before the board for a vote at this time," Lamar County School District Superintendent Tess Smith said.

On Friday, July 31, a Gag Order for the case "Randal Lamar Butler vs. Lamar County School District, ET AL" was signed by Chancery Judge Dawn Beam.

The order reads:

"This matter came before the court on an agreement by all of the parties that a Gag Order is appropriate and the Court on its own Motion to Seal the file, and the Court finding that it is in the interest of all parties and the public that this matter be sealed and that a Gag Order be entered."

Seven on Your Side asked Superintendent Tess Smith about why a Gag Order was issued in regards to a matter dealing with a high school football coach.

"I really don't know, all I know is that I was notified that the attorneys involved requested it, and one went into place immediately," Smith said.

In regards to why the matter warrants a judge or why the matter is so top secret, Smith was brief.

"I really don't know, thankfully I only have to deal with Rick Norton, our school board attorney, and I'm not actively involved in court systems and how all that works," Smith said.

Smith also would not answer any questions if any lawsuits or legal action had been taken against the school district as a whole regarding the coaching situation.

On Friday, Smith said Butler is working diligently to get his license, but does not know the current status of that process.

The Mississippi High School Activities Association states in its (Para-Professional Procedures) that "No school shall be permitted to use a coach unless he/she is a full-time certified employee of the school system."

"We can allow non-certified staff to act as care professionals to assist with the team, but in order to be the, the head coach has to be a certified Mississippi license holder," Smith said.

Seven on Your Side reached out to attorney Andy Taggart, who is involved in the matter; however he "was not in a position to discuss it at all."

We reached out to Chancery Judge Dawn Beam for comment on the Gag Order, but she would not comment on the matter, but said she feels comfortable with her decision on the matter at hand.

The Lamar County School Board is set to meet Monday at 6 p.m., and there is no item on the agenda regarding the Oak Grove High School football coaching position.

Butler spent the past seven seasons at Troy University as a defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. Before that, he was an assistant coach at Southern Miss for 17 seasons where he served in various positions, such as tight ends coach, defensive line coach, associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for the Golden Eagles.

Before landing at Southern Miss, Butler spent a year as an offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Narvarro Junior College in Texas, four seasons at Tulane, a year at Mississippi Delta Community College and four seasons at Southern Methodist University.

Butler has been on track to replace former head coach Nevil Barr, who retired in May after 14 seasons with the Warriors.

To read the full order, click here.