Dozens show support for Cordia's Rodrick Rhodes, who faces removal as boys basketball coach

Published: May. 11, 2016 at 12:21 AM EDT
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Dozens of people showed up at Tuesday night's meeting of the Knott County Board of Education to voice their support for Cordia boys basketball coach Rodrick Rhodes.

The former UK player has guided the Cordia program the past five seasons, even winning a state championship.

But he's been told his contract will not be renewed for next season, leading to many unhappy folks on Lotts Creek.

Less than four months ago, the Lions were celebrating the school's first All "A" basketball championship. And now they don't know who will coach them next season.

The reasons Rhodes is being let go include a poor relationship with Cordia principal Jonathan Mullins, insubordination and neglect of duty, according to a letter to Rhodes from Knott County Superintendent Kim King that was provided by Cordia officials.

The prospect of losing Rhodes caused a strong reaction among many Cordia fans who packed Tuesday night's meeting of the Knott County Board of Education.

"We deserve the same respect that everybody else does," Delores Allen said. "Just because we're a little school, our kids are just as important as all of Knott County."

Rhodes said he appreciates the support.

"It meant a lot," Rhodes said. "I've tried to be humble. I've tried to fit in to the community and I've trid to set an example with the kids and just be humble. I've always tried to be humble and I'll continue to do that."

Neither the superintendent or school board members are saying much about the situation.

"Unfortunately I can't comment on personnel and I won't," Knott County Board of Education Chair Randy Combs said. "But from a human standpoint I've got the utmost respect for (Rhodes)."

Rhodes said he likes Eastern Kentucky and wants to stay in the area.

He urged his supporters to be patient as he fights to keep his job.

During Rhodes' tenure at Cordia, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association hit the boys basketball program with sanctions for violations in connection to providing illegal benefits to players and improper recruitment.

As a result, the Lions were not eligible for postseason play the past two seasons, but they are in 2016-17.

They return all but two players from last year's team that won the All "A" state title.

Steven Bailey, an attorney for Rhodes, said he would not rule out a lawsuit.