Tuba City football coach Vincent Lee returning after board rejects resignation

Richard Obert
Arizona Republic
View Comments
Chinle quarterback Zacharian Toadlena escapes a tackle against the Tuba City Warriors on August 20, 2021.

After a whirlwind two weeks, in which Tuba City football coach Vincent Lee resigned over the administration's handling of an incident with a parent, he will return to the team.

The human resource department at the Tuba City schools informed Lee on Thursday night that he can return to the school to teach and lead the football team.

Lee said that during Wednesday's school board meeting, the community came out to support him. 

The board rejected Lee's resignation at the meeting.

"The board stated they wanted to further review the incident, because they were unaware of the details of the incident," Lee said.

On Aug. 1, Lee kicked a player out of practice for using inappropriate langue. A half hour later, his mother came onto the field and began screaming at Lee, threatening to have him removed as the coach.

More:Tuba City football coach Vincent Lee resigns over administration's handling of parent issue

It was then investigated by the school and Lee was reassigned to the elementary school and was not allowed to have contact with any of the players.

Because it was taking longer than he anticipated, Lee resigned as coach and was ready to move on. An online petition started by the community asked the Tuba City administration to reinstate Lee.

"HR called me and said that my reassignment has been lifted, and because (the resignation) was rejected, I was still the head coach and expected to go to practice on Monday," Lee said. "I kind of had mixed feelings about it.

"It's one of those things where the community came out and supported me," Lee said. "I had enormous parental support. There's been so much support from the community that there is no way I can move on.

"At the board meeting, several parents spoke about my character, and the things I've done for the community, it was like no way I can move on."

More:Corona del Sol football coach Jake Barro placed on administrative leave pending outcome of investigation

Lee said he has yet to speak to the athletic director, but hopes things can get ironed out before he leads the team next week.

"I did meet with some coaches last night and discussed where the program is," Lee said "I spoke to some players and got their feedback. I haven't quite told them I was coming back yet, because I want to get some stuff in order. I want to meet with my AD and have a discussion on how we proceed, because I know there's probably some tension. I just want to let him know that I'm coming back to serve these kids because I know the amount of work they've put in. I just want to make sure there is smooth sailing moving forward."

Lee said that Tuba City has now closed practices from parents, and there is security at practice.

Lee, in his third season leading the program, also wants to make sure there are no issues with the player who was punished.

"This was an issue we would have taken care of internally, and found a way to make it a coachable moment, where he could learn from this," Lee said. "I still stand by that.

"When people make mistakes, most of the time they can be coachable moments. That's how our program is run. There is no tolerance for certain things. But this is something that happens every now and then. I think every coach puts up with that."

More:Hamilton High School to suspend assistant football coach 3 games over alleged recruiting violation

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him on Twitter @azc_obert.

Support local journalism: Subscribe to azcentral.com today

View Comments