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Union Parish head football coach will retain job

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
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After an investigation into an alleged verbal altercation between Union Parish High School head football coach Joe Spatafora and a Ruston coach, the Union Parish School Board has announced Spatafora will retain his coaching position.

Union Parish head football coach Joe Spatafora will keep his job.

Last week it was reported that a late-January verbal altercation between current RHS head coach Jerrod Baugh and Union Parish High School head coach Joe Spatafora at a Baton Rouge bar during a Louisiana High School Athletics Association meeting had nearly become physical.

During that altercation Spatafora reportedly disparaged Baugh, current Northwestern State University and former RHS head coach Brad Laird and Laird’s late father Billy Laird, who preceded his son as head coach of the Bearcats, during that altercation in which Spatafora reportedly physically threatened Baugh.

On Thursday night a rally in support of Spatafora was held in Farmerville, and on Friday evening, the Union Parish School Board released a statement regarding Spatafora’s status.

“Union Parish High School officials and the Union Parish Superintendent have conducted an investigation into allegations of an argument which involved Coach Joe Spatafora. The investigation conducted was thorough and has been completed. Union Parish school officials, Coach Spatafora and their attorney cooperated fully in the process.

“After a review of all the facts surrounding the circumstances, this matter has been resolved through the cooperation of school officials and personnel. Appropriate action has been taken and the parties involved have agreed that Coach Joe Spatafora will remain an employee of the Union Parish school system and will return as the head coach of Union Parish High School for the 2020/21 football season, assuming certain conditions are met.”


— Former Ruston High School head football coach and current Northwestern State head coach has been charged with driving while intoxicated.

Laird has been suspended without pay for one week, Northwestern Director of Athletics Greg Burke said in a statement released on Monday.

According to his own statement, Laird was arrested Saturday night.

“I made a poor decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking alcohol,” Laird said. “This was a lapse in judgment, and I take 100 percent responsibility for my actions.”

He was also given a letter of reprimand stating the consequences he could face if any future misconduct took place, Burke said.