Meeting on Murrah High coach cancelled
By Ross Dellenger
Clarion Ledger, December 20, 2011

Marlon Dorsey’s future as the Murrah High School boys basketball coach remains unclear.

Dorsey, who was suspended last season after he made national news for whipping players with a weight belt, appears to be in jeopardy of losing his job — even as he and school officials were mum about his future on Monday.

Murrah basketball coach Marlon Dorsey testifies in his defense in Hinds County Court in March at a hearing to determine whether Dorsey could be charged with assault for spanking players with a weight belt. Judge Breland Hilburn ruled that that was no evidence to prove criminal intent in the case. / Joe Ellis/The Clarion-Ledger

Team parents have not yet met with school officials about the matter — a meeting reportedly scheduled for this morning was cancelled. But some say Dorsey has been fired.

“I'm disappointed and terribly hurt. I think this is a sad day for Murrah basketball to endure this,” said Gary Love, who heads the team booster club.

Love said he hasn’t spoken with anyone from the district and won’t comment further until the facts are known.

A parent whose son plays on the team said her son told her Sunday that Dorsey was no longer the coach.

“But,” said Cheryl Maberry, “(school officials) haven’t told us anything and we didn’t know it was coming.”

Contacted on his cell phone Monday morning and asked about his job, Dorsey wouldn’t comment and said he’d call back and hung up. He did not return the call.

Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Jayne Sargent wouldn’t comment Monday, said a spokesman, citing “personnel issues” and “employee confidentiality rights.”

The district will not confirm whether Dorsey has been fired.

Clint Johnson, the JPS athletic director, said Dorsey is still teaching classes. When asked if he remained the basketball coach, Johnson wouldn’t comment. Late Monday night, several Murrah booster club members attended what they called a “closed-door meeting” to discuss “scenarios.”

Video taken from a cell phone of Dorsey beating his players with a 10-pound belt surfaced last fall after a parent reported Dorsey’s actions to the school.

The coach, in his first year last season, was suspended for two months by the school district.

Corporal punishment has been banned in the district since 1991.

In mid-March, a judge ruled that evidence was insufficient to charge Dorsey with simple assault, a charge pushed by a group of parents.

Parents and players have filed a federal lawsuit against Dorsey and JPS officials for the whippings, which Dorsey admitted to and some players said were so painful it prevented them from sleeping on their backs.

Staff writers Marquita Brown and Rod Walker contributed to this report. To comment on this story, call Ross Dellenger at (601) 961-7190

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