Former Sebastian River High School coaches offended by being called the Big Black Coaches Club

SEBASTIAN, Fla. -- The Big Black Coaches Club. That's what a group of former football coaches at Sebastian River High School say they're being called in a derogatory way and they've had enough.

The term BBC has been floating around Sebastian River High School for too long, according to Joe Nathaniel, a former Junior Varsity football coach at the school.

When the Indian River County School District decided not to renew former head coach, Randy Bethel's coaching contract last season, Nathaniel says nearly ten other assistant coaches decided to leave the team.

"I didn't want to work for anybody else,  so I just retired from coaching," Nathaniel said.

Bethel was released without cause, and the coaches wanted to know why.

Since then, Nathaniel says the coaches, many of whom still teach for the district, have felt pressure from the community and staff for their decision to leave. Nathaniel still teaches for the district.

Nathaniel says the development of the term BBC, the Big Black Coaches club, is taking it too far. He says he overheard staff using the term, and went to the school's principal to complain.

That sparked a two month investigation by the district, where at least 13 people, including staff, were interviewed.

Nathaniel was told the investigation revealed that many of the staff heard the term used, but could not remember who used it.

In a letter sent to Nathaniel by the district, officials say staff recalled BBC being used as a term of endearment.

"I'm appalled. I'm sickened. I'm sad. I'm mad," said Indian River County NAACP President Anthony Brown.

He, too, used to be a coach at the school.

"No way humanly possible can you come out and say that the BBC is a term of endearment. That's a joke, " said Brown.

The Indian River County School District Assistant Superintendent, Bill Fritz, did release a statement reading in part ,"If there is founded evidence of wrongdoing, it will be handled in accordance with the law and School Board policy.  The School District does not tolerate racial discrimination and makes every effort to prevent such behavior."‬

Fritz says the investigation is being reopened as a result of more information relating to BBC coming to their attention.

Nathaniel says if action is not taken by the district to punish, or correct those using the term, he will pursue legal action.

"If I'm telling you that something is going on on your campus and it doesn't get addressed then I don't feel I'm valued as a staff," Nathaniel said.

Brown says the NAACP will continue to support Nathaniel and the coaches offended by the term throughout the investigation.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments