High School Football Coach Fired After Reports He Abused Players

A high school football coach in Florida has been fired and banned from teaching after accusations he abused players during his tenure at Palatka High School. Randell Gene Owens allegedly head-butted a player and told another player that they should "commit suicide." In a more disturbing incident, Owens reportedly stood on a toilet seat and "peeped over the bathroom stall” while a 16-year-old male was using the bathroom. 

During Owens' time as coach, he was accused of forcing students with medical conditions to play, and many felt that he showed favoritism toward certain players, even if they were not performing up to expectations. 

Owens was hired by Palatka High School in 2015, despite district officials knowing that he was arrested after being accused of assaulting a student at a high school in Georgia in 2013. Putnam County Superintendent Rick Surrency defended hiring Owens, who also taught gym class and was a dean at the school, telling First Coast News that his "record had actually been expunged."

Owens did not contest the charges levied against him and surrendered his teaching certificate. 

Photo: Lowndes County Jail