Union Parish community rally behind coach accused of using racial slur
Dozens of people across Union Parish came together Thursday evening to defend a high school football coach accused of using profane language and a racial slur towards another coach.
“He was like a father figure coming up. A lot of kids dreamed of playing with him,” said Tahgi Andrews, a former UPHS football player.
Union Parish High School coach Joe Spatafora was the focus of the rally. His sister Wendy Holden was one of several people who defended his character.
“He welcomes everybody. I do not believe that it’s in my brother’s character to use racial slurs,” Holden said.
Two letters surfaced on social media this week. One was purportedly written by Ruston HS coach Jerrod Baugh. In the letter, he narrates an evening of the LHSAA conference in January.
Baugh said while they were there, Spatafora confronted him about not being on the game schedule. He then goes on to accuse Spatafora of calling him an “N-word lover” and other expletives.
Baugh acknowledges that other coaches stepped between the two and broke them up.
A second letter was released this week purportedly written by Spatafora. In the letter, it said that the two did talk about football schedules and a “heated argument” occurred.
The writer then said they were at a bar and had been drinking with other colleagues and apologized for not acting in a professional manner.
UPHS assistant cheerleading coach Remonto Foster also supported his colleague and said the situation has been blown out of proportion.
“Whatever it was that they were doing, it was something that happened there in Baton Rouge and should have stayed in Baton Rouge,” Foster said.
KNOE has reached out to the Union and Lincoln Parish School Boards. The UPSB has not yet responded. The LPSB superintendent responded and said, “All personnel issues are resolved at the appropriate local school level.”
Additionally, KNOE has reached out to both coaches regarding the letters.
Spatafora responded and said his lawyer has a copy of his letter.
Baugh has not yet responded to our attempts to contact him.