Celebration HS football coach wants job back



CELEBRATION, Fla. - Spring football practice season is underway in most central Florida counties.

In Osceola County, it's arriving with plenty of controversy -- Celebration High School players are practicing with no head coach.

Ed Meierkort was the latest in a long line of coaches to leave the school.

Many parents are demanding answers.

Parent Jeff Ballentine said it’s fitting that football practice at Celebration High began Wednesday under gray skies.

“We definitely feel we've been completely ignored,” Ballentine said.

Ballentine is one of dozens of parents outraged over the firing of the school's fourth football coach in four years.

Meierkort arrived after coaching for 18 years on the college level on a mission to turn Celebration High's program around.

“We were No. 1 in the state academically.  We were excited about the chance to start winning football games,” Meierkort said.

Less than a year into his job, Meierkort was fired.

“There was no conversation at all. It was all very cut and dry,” Meierkort said.

Meierkort was at the center of an investigation over the mishandling of a school fundraiser and allegations some students practiced without turning in proper medical forms.

Meierkort said those issues were resolved.

His file shows an assistant coach accused him of bullying.

Meierkort denies it and his termination letter simply cites a state law allowing districts to fire first year employees with no explanation.

“I feel bad for the kids.  Our players, this hurts them right now if they have to start all over again a fifth time,” Meierkort said.

Meierkort said he's reapplied for his job.

Ballentine said he and a growing number of parents are ready to fight for him.

“We felt we had one of the most qualified coaches in the state of Florida to coach high school football and we would love to see that momentum continued,” Ballentine said.